Is a Vegan Diet Unhealthy?

Vegan Diet
Share

It has rightly been said that health is wealth. Every individual wishes to be the best possible version of him or herself. And the best way to do that is by practicing a healthy lifestyle and taking a healthy diet. And since, this is the age of globalization; there are many options available out there in regards to the type of diet one can follow. And some of those most common types of diets are vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan, carbohydrates based, and many other types of diets. Currently, the vegan diet is being popularized as the holy grain of all diets. There are many experts who claim this is the healthiest diet which an individual can follow. However, there are also many experts who believe that there are some very damaging consequences of following this diet.  However, before proceeding to that discussion, it is important for readers to learn exactly what a vegan diet is.

The Complete Guide to the Vegan Diet

A large number of people today are shifting to the vegan diet due to various health, environmental, and ethical reasons. Two of the most popularized benefits of this diet are that it allows one to achieve a smaller waist size and improves blood sugar level control. This diet is exclusively based on plant foods and rejects all forms of animal-based food items. This diet strictly excludes all forms of animal cruelty and animal exploitation for any purpose including clothing and food. There can be many reasons why an individual might choose to adopt a vegan diet. However, the most common reason still remains that it improves the overall health of the individual who is following this diet. There are also many different types of vegan diet. And some of those most important types of vegan diets are:

  • Whole-Food Vegan Diet

This type of vegan diet is based on whole plant foods. For example, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

  • Raw-Food Vegan Diet

This type of vegan diet is based on raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds or other plant food which can be cooked below the temperature of 48 degree Celsius or 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • 80/10/10

This is another raw food diet which excludes all fat rich plant products and instead relies on food items like soft greens, raw fruits, and raw vegetables.

  • The Starch Solution

This is high carbohydrate and low-fat diet which mainly focuses on plant products which can be cooked like corn, rice, and potatoes.

  • Raw Till 4

In this diet, one can consume raw food items till 4 pm and after that one can eat cooked meals based on other plant products.

  • The Thrive Diet

This is another raw food diet in which an individual consumes raw food items or minimally cooked food items.

  • Junk-Food Vegan Diet

This diet lacks the consumption of whole plant food items and instead relies on heavily processes vegan food items like cheese, mock meats, fries, desserts, and other items.

These are all the different types of vegan diets. It is important that even though so many types of vegan diets exist still many researchers do not differentiate between these kinds of vegan diets when using products for the purpose of research or a study.

The Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet

There are many potential benefits of consuming a vegan diet and some of those benefits are:

  1. The Richness of Certain Nutrients

It has been established now that a vegan diet is the type of diet which is mainly based on plant products. Because of this diet, an individual ends up consuming more nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and other plant products. This allows that individual to not just get more fiber and antioxidants but it further allows one to get vital vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and magnesium.

  1. Losing that Excess Weight

According to many observational studies, individuals who follow a vegan diet are able to lose excess weight more quickly. Vegans also tend to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). This is simply because of the fact that the vegan diet has a natural tendency to lower the overall calorie intake.

  1. Improving Kidney Functions and Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

Some of the most important health benefits of a vegan diet are that it allows an individual to decrease his or her blood sugar levels. Apart from that, this diet also improves kidney functions and reduces the risk of acquiring two different types of diabetes.

  1. The Protection Against Cancers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost one third cases of cancer can be prevented by taking appropriate measures. And the plant products which a vegan diet relies on have those important benefits which can reduce the risk of cancer by a total of at least 20%.

Disadvantages of a Vegan Diet

There are also some disadvantages of consuming only a vegan diet. And some of those disadvantages are:

  1. The Increased Risk of Leaky Gut

Some reports of a leaky gut or intestinal permeability have been observed in individuals who follow the vegan diet for a very long time. This is because of the fact that vegans end up consuming a lot of legumes to get the proteins. And legumes contain anti-nutrients like phytates and lectins. These are primarily responsible for creating that health condition.

  1. The Hormonal Disruption

Many vegans also turn to soy as their source of protein. The unprocessed form is okay to consume but many vegan items contain processes form of soy. This processes form of soy can cause hormonal disruption in an individual. This hormonal disruption mainly includes that of thyroid and estrogen.

  1. The Risk of Anemia

Plant products contain a type of iron which is known as heme iron. This type of iron often does not get absorbed in the body. This can increase the risk of acquiring anemia in an individual.

The Verdict

After looking at all these points, it can easily be summarized that a vegan diet has both health benefits and some disadvantages. That is why it is recommended that one should consume a properly balanced meal in the long run. While it can certainly be beneficial for an individual to consume a vegan diet but that a vegan diet can also cause trouble for that individual if it is consumed diligently in the long run. Hence, the best case solution is to keep the diet plans rather mixed and consume all sorts of food items. If an individual is far too confused regarding the kind of diet one should follow then he or she can contact a licensed dietician who will be able to guide one further on the best course of action.

The Conclusion:

A vegan diet is a type of diet which is solely based on plant food items. A large number of people switch to this type of diet for environmental, health, and ethical reasons. There are many different types of vegan diets. It is vital for an individual to remember that a vegan diet has both its health benefits and disadvantages. Hence, one should always have a balanced meal. It is beneficial to follow these types of diet for a certain period of time but it is not good for one to keep following these diets in the long run.

The References

https://www.cleaneatingkitchen.com/vegan-diet-dangers-health/

https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/is-veganism-healthy

https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/news/20180118/are-there-health-downsides-to-vegetarian-diets

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1627S/4596952

https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/vegan-diet-healthy/

I’m not vegan anymore

https://qz.com/quartzy/1344589/is-a-vegan-diet-healthy-only-if-you-do-it-right/

https://chriskresser.com/why-you-should-think-twice-about-vegetarian-and-vegan-diets/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-diet-guide

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446