World Vegan Day: Pros and Cons of Following a Vegan Diet

Vegans follow a plant-based diet and avoid all animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, and honey. Many people also avoid buying animal products (eg, leather and reptile skin). Veganism, in general, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, including the use of animals for entertainment and product testing. Animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin, albumin, casein, carmine, and pepsin can be found in marshmallows, gummies, chewing gum, and more. Therefore, it is important to read food labels carefully when shopping.

Of course, there are pros and cons to being vegan. Embracing a vegan lifestyle requires careful planning and awareness of what you put in your body.

Switching to an all-vegetable diet, for example, can help you lose weight and improve your gut health, but it can also put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Here’s everything that can happen to your body, both good and bad, if you go vegan.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a vegan diet. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Benefits of a vegan diet

Here are the benefits of following a vegan diet:

1. You get more fiber

This is one of the most noticeable dietary changes you will observe. Meats are fiber free. Plants, on the other hand, are high in this nutrient, so eat less meat and more quinoa, black beans, chickpeas, and edamame. increases your fiber intake significantly. Dietary fiber is essential for heart and gut health, as well as blood sugar and weight management.

2. Reduces the risk of heart disease

When we eat more plant-based foods and fewer animal products, it lowers the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart conditions. Indeed, plant-based consumers consume more fruits and vegetables, fiber and polyunsaturated fats while consuming less saturated fats, all of which are dietary factors that promote heart health.

3. Ideal for losing weight

Eliminating meat, dairy, and other animal products can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol because they contain more fat and calories than plant-based foods. Vegans have a lower body mass index and arterial pressure.

benefits of vegan diet
Benefits of a vegan diet. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Disadvantages of a vegan diet

Here are the cons of following a vegan diet:

1. You might feel low in energy

A vegan diet is deficient in iodine and choline. Iodine is necessary for the health of the thyroid, which regulates energy, metabolism and mood. Choline helps your brain by influencing your memory and mood. However, vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes can provide choline, and iodine can be obtained from fortified (iodized) table salt. Nevertheless, supplementation with these nutrients can be beneficial. Plant-based foods are low in calories, a vegan diet can cause fatigue if you don’t eat enough to maintain your mental and physical energy levels.

2. You might get bloated

Fiber resists digestion when we eat it. We cannot digest fiber and instead must rely on the gut microbiota in our gastrointestinal tract to do so. It eventually makes its way to the colon, where it ferments, releasing short-chain fatty acids and gases. This causes bloating. Everyone is affected differently. To drink a lot of water and slowly increase your fiber intake.

benefits of vegan diet
What are the disadvantages of the vegan diet. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

3. May Face Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Veganism can lead to anemia, hormonal disruptions, vitamin B12 deficiencies and depression due to lack of omega-3 fatty acids. This is why it is essential to consume a variety of proteins, vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium, iodine, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Veganism can cause anemia, hormonal disruptions, vitamin B12 deficiencies, and depression due to a lack of omega-3 fatty acids. Enriched cereals, plant-based milk, tofu, and nutritional yeast contain some of these nutrients. Iron and calcium are found in legumes and dark leafy vegetables, while tofu contains protein, calcium, and zinc. Finally, nuts, canola oil, soy products and ground flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and ALA.

Veganism involves more than abstaining from animal products. After weighing the pros and cons of a vegan diet, be sure to follow up with regular visits to a dietitian and blood tests.