Vegan Diet-Health Benefits vs. Risks

Vegan diet! No doubt, not a new concept. But the trend is uprising since a few years ago. A survey conducted by Gallup poll 2018 reported that about 3% of Americans have fully moved on a vegan diet.

The possible reason for being vegan is to improve health. But some people think that they don’t want or harm the animal (animals too have emotions), farming of animals have bad impact on the environment and they want to protect the environment.

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet comprises foods obtain from plants and plant-based sources. It excludes all the foods that come from animal products, including meat, meat products, dairy, honey, and eggs, etc.

The food groups that may include in the vegan diet are:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Bread, rice, pasta, and cereals
  • Dairy alternatives such as coconut milk, almond milk, and soymilk

Types of Vegan Diet

There are different types of the vegan diet. Some of the types are:

  • Whole-Food Vegan Diet: This includes a wide range of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains. These could be easily incorporated into your daily meal.
  •  Raw-Food Vegan Diet: Raw food diet is based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and consumed in raw form. However, this could be cooked at low temperatures (118oF or 48oC).
  • Junk-Food Vegan Diet: This type of diet includes junk food such as mock meats, fries, cheese, vegan desserts, and heavily processed food products.
  • The Thrive Diet: This includes the raw foods that that is minimally cooked.
  • Raw Till 4: As the name suggests, this involves the consumption of only low-carb vegan food until 4 pm followed by plant-based food for dinner.
  • The starch solution: This type involves the consumption of more carbohydrates. This increases the energy intake to fulfill the daily needs. It focuses on starch-rich foods such as cooked potato, rice, and corn. This group is similar to the 80/10/10 diet.

Health Benefits of Vegan Diet

A vegan diet has several health benefits. This may include weight loss, reduce risks of heart disease, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and some kinds of cancer.

Moreover, vegan foods are rich source antioxidants, fiber, and several other nutrients that help to improve health.

Weight Loss

This diet has a low-calorie intake and lower body mass index (BMI) than those who eat animal meat and meat products. Taking a veg diet with higher dietary fiber makes you feel fuller that causes lower calorie intake.

Moreover, people on a vegan diet tend to lose more weight than those following a calorie-restricted diet.

Better Heart Health

The vegan diet is very persuasive to make your heart healthy.

Studies have shown that vegans have a 75% lower risk of developing blood pressure and a 42% of lower risk of death with heart disease.

Vegan food is very effective in reducing cholesterol, LDL, and blood sugar. This is beneficial to reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Effective in Type-2 Diabetes

Plant-based food is very effective to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. Simply eating a plant-based diet such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts lower blood sugar levels.

Reduce the Risk of Cancer

The research reported that a portion of vegan food can reduce the risk of cancer by up to 15%. A vegan diet mostly contains foods with high fiber contents, vitamins, and phytochemicals that protect against cancer.

Besides the above-mentioned benefits, a vegan diet may also be helpful in arthritis, kidney function, and Alzheimer’s disease. But you should keep in mind that these are observational studies and may not be supported by evidence.

What are the Dangers/Risks of a vegan diet?

Although vegan-based foods have a good impact on people’s lives, certain nutrients that are only obtained from animal sources might be deficient if not addressed. For example, a few nutrients such as protein, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids could be deficient.

A poorly planned diet may pose serious health issues especially for children and pregnant women with increased nutrient requirements.

Moreover, different veg-based products like vegan ice cream, candy, and cookies are appealing but should not be overused. If you eat processed foods and high-fat foods, you will probably be oversize your meal ultimately leads to weight gain. You may compensate for all the above-mentioned nutrients but vitamin B12 can only be obtained from animal sources. This vitamin is used to make red blood cells and DNA.

Veg or non-veg, the choice is yours. You may go for veganism but make sure to get all the nutrients from your diet.

You can only get the above-mentioned health benefits if you plan your diet and consistent with it. You must have to make sure that the diet you are following is meeting the nutrient requirements. Otherwise, you may face serious health risks.

Read More: What Is Whole Food Diet Plan-WFPB Diet Plan

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