A vegan diet is the trend nowadays as many have adopted it. Before you shift to a vegan diet, it is important to get familiar with the potential risks associated with it. The diet often promises weight management and curing other health-related issues. But is that true?
So, is Veganism healthy? There are healthy diet myths that you need to be familiar with.
What do you mean by a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet is a strict type of diet that does not include any of the products that come from animal sources. In general, a pure vegan diet is considered a plant-based diet. It excludes all types of animal-based diet products – eggs, honey, poultry, dairy and fish.
There are many people who fully implement a vegan diet as their lifestyle. They will always take the diet a step ahead. They exclude fabric materials as well that comes from animal sources.
Additionally, they will exclude any personal care products as well, that have ingredients extracted from animals.
A vegan diet will include all types of whole foods, that are completely plant-based. The diet includes less processed foods the diet mainly focuses on consuming more legumes, fruits, seeds, nuts and whole grains.
The diet is completely different as compared to the paleo diet that may include animal products to a certain extent.
What type of food items do Vegans consume?
This is a common question that you need to understand. Vegans mainly depend on all types of plant-based products. A pure vegan diet will only include legumes (beans), seeds, grains (whole grains), soy products and nuts.
But eating only plant-based foods does not mean that the vegan diet is considered a very healthy diet. It still may not exclude some types of food items that are unhealthy – sugar foods, gluten and few processed foods.
Vegan Diet and Extreme Dieting
A vegan diet can be considered a type of extreme diet. One of the reasons is that the diet excludes a lot of food items from the list. If you exclude most of the foods from your list then you are at the risk of nutritional deficiency.
A strict vegan diet can lead to declining health issues. As each of the food nutrition holds its value, for our body, so, a purely vegan diet cannot be considered as a healthy diet. So before you plan to switch to a purely vegan diet, it is important to consult your health expert.
Health issues related to consuming a Purely Vegan Diet
You need to understand that this article does not in any way conclude that a vegan diet is harmful to your body. But there are still certain facts that you should be aware of. These are the common warning signs that you may most likely face when consuming only a purely vegan diet.
1. Leaky gut risk and legume proteins
A vegan diet does include any type of protein that has been extracted from animal sources like eggs, meat, fish or even dairy products. This means you are not consuming these types of foods in your everyday diet. So instead, when on a strict vegan diet, you are mainly dependent on legumes proteins.
You need to keep in mind that legumes are rich sources of antinutrients including phytates and lectins. These are the types of proteins that may increase leaky gut risks. But if you are consuming proteins from animal sources, then they do not contain high levels of anti-nutrients.
So, if you are consuming more legumes, your chances of facing intestinal inflammation also increase. This is one of the risks that you have to stay alert of.
2. Hormonal disruptions
A vegan diet mainly includes consuming a lot of soy-based proteins. It eliminates all animal source proteins from your food diet. Many people may benefit when consuming unprocessed form of soy proteins.
But the vegan diet mainly consumes a processed form of soy proteins. These may include proteins in the form of soy milk, tofu and soy processed foods. Vegans consider these as the best alternatives for meat-based proteins.
The processed form of soy-based foods is not considered as nutritional for human consumption. It can increase the risk of hormonal interference. It is rich in cadmium that is a toxic metal.
3. Anemia health risks
If you are not consuming a sufficient percentage of iron mineral then you are facing anemia risk. This condition is mainly a result of iron deficiency. Plant-based foods may only contain a non-heme form of iron mineral.
This type of iron is not much absorbed by the body system. Iron is an important mineral. Therefore, its deficiency can lead to fatigue conditions. If you are on a strict vegan diet then you are at risk to develop anemia like conditions.
There are many other side effects as well that you could face including constipation and childbirth risk in pregnant women.
4. Depression conditions (An Unknown Effect Of Being Vegan)
Your everyday diet should be rich in Omega-3 Fatty acid. We get this from fish oils and other fist products. But the a vegan diet includes fatty acid derived from nuts mainly. This could lead to the development of depression-like conditions.
Vegans have an option to consume algae-based foods, but in most cases, this type of food is more expensive. They may have to include more quantities of nuts to balance the fatty acid intake every day.
5. Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 mainly comes from animal sources. Foods that are animal products will be rich in vitamin B12. This type of nutrient is vital for our body. Thus, as per experts, vegans need to consume more Vitamin B12.
This vitamin is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In most cases, supplements are never a good option for Vitamin B12.
6. Zinc absorption
A vegan diet is always considered as low on zinc counts. If you are consuming more plant-based foods, then your body is forced to absorb less zinc mineral from the food. To maintain the nutritional balance, vegans may have to increase zinc consumption by over 50 per cent.
7. Excess Carbohydrate consumption
Protein is one of the main issues when consuming a vegan diet. This is one of the reasons for blood sugar swings. If you are consuming more legumes in your vegan diet then you are also consuming more of a carbohydrate diet.
A high percentage of carbohydrates is never good for your body. Vegans may consume a more refined form of carbohydrates in the form of cookies, crackers and bread. This can lead to the development of fatty liver conditions and increased blood sugar levels.
A moderate-protein diet is always considered the best diet that is healthy. It is a safe method to manage good body weight.
8. Disordered eating habits
Vegans may always have disordered eating habits. This is because of excessive restrictions in eating healthy foods. This is a type of disorder. It is thus advisable not to follow a very strict vegan diet that can disrupt your normal eating pattern.
It is not that a vegan diet is not beneficial, but surviving on a purely vegan diet may never be the right solution to maintaining a strict healthy diet. You should always focus more on consuming a well-balanced diet.