March 11th, 2020
Going vegan seems to be the hot new diet trend in today’s diet world. Celebrities are constantly singing its praise, claiming that veganism is the answer to becoming instantly slim, healthy and beautiful. However, it leaves us to wonder…is it all it’s cracked up to be? If we eat meat and dairy, are we doomed from living a healthy lifestyle? Here we separate the science from the hype surrounding the health benefits of a vegan diet.
A vegan diet focuses on plant-based foods and beverages and is void of all animal products including eggs, dairy, and honey (yes, even honey). There are several reasons one may decide to go vegan, most often for health reasons or to support ethical and environmental concerns.
Currently, the scientific consensus is that veganism is certainly one of the best diets – right up there with the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Okinawan diet (both of which include animal products). However, by no means is anyone claiming veganism is the end-all, be-all to living a healthy lifestyle.
Here’s the thing, going vegan doesn’t always mean you’re eating well. There are tons of unhealthy “vegan” foods. Nutter Butters, Pop-Tarts, and loads of other junk foods are considered “vegan”. We get it, most vegans aren’t shopping in these aisles at the grocery. However, even a junk food-free vegan diet raises health concerns in that it can lead to significant nutrition deficiencies including calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
The lack of B12 in a vegan diet is especially problematic, as it is almost completely absent from plant-based foods. Multiple studies show that nearly 60% of vegans have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which in severe cases, can lead to numbness, poor balance, depression, paranoia, memory loss, incontinence and a slew of other problems.
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While there is still a debate as to whether veganism is the “best” diet, it certainly offers tons of benefits. Some of which include:
If you are considering a vegan diet, you must consider your intention. Do you want to reduce the risk of heart disease? Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to be kinder to animals or reduce your carbon footprint? If you answer yes to any of these questions, veganism may be the right choice for you!
However, we can’t tell you enough how important it is to do it the right way. Take your supplements (especially B12!), get enough calcium and iron and continue to eat a well-balanced diet.
*Don’t forget to check with your doctor before changing your diet.