Vegan diets are not necessarily a bad idea, and they can be great for people who want to eat this way. However, there is no right way to eat that fits everyone.
Many Americans go for the meat-free trend. If you want to choose a new diet regimen, it is a good idea to do your homework because it could be risky and cause many negative side effects.
Eliminating meat from your diet does not always automatically constitute good health. Benefits of vegan diets can only be seen when meat is replaced with nutritiously-dense foods, meaning more whole soy, vegetable, and fruits.
There are reasons why eating animal foods may not always be a bad either though, because there are nutrients only found in animal foods that are critical for the body’s optimal function.
Humans function best because we are omnivores. We eat both animals and plants to get all the nutrients we need. Health benefits associated with well-planned, nutritious vegan diets are undeniable based on the studies from Loma Linda University in California that indicate it can reduce a person’s risk for heart disease, cancer, and type II diabetes. Studies even showed that a vegan diet can boost brain health, control body mass index and waist size.
However, despite the positive health results from the Loma Linda study, it can be easy to be an unhealthy vegan because although you can get Vitamin C from plants, Vitamin B12, essential in the formation of blood and the function of the brain, is not found in plants except in some types of algae. This is the reason why 92% of vegans are deficient in B12.
Vegans are also deficient in animal protein, which is a good source of amino acids important for bone health and muscle mass. This can have negative effects on body composition. There are also studies showing vegans have insufficient creatine that helps form the energy reservoir in cells, which may cause harmful effects on brain and muscle function.
Carnosine, only found in animal foods, can protect humans against various degenerative processes and protect against aging. The most active form of Omega-3 fatty acids is found in animal foods, and those found in plants is inefficiently converted in the body.
Vegans and vegetarians also have much lower testosterone levels than their meat-eating counterparts.
The reasons why vegetarians are shown to be healthier in some studies could be because they are health conscious; they exercise more, avoid smoking, processed oils and trans-fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars, which has nothing to do with avoiding animal foods.
Human bodies are capable of digesting and absorbing nutrients found in animal foods. Although processed meats can harm the body, saturated fat has never been proven to lead to cardiovascular disease based on a study of almost 250 thousand individuals.
In a study conducted by researchers on 10,000 respondents, it was shown that there is no difference in mortality between vegetarians and non-vegetarians groups if they were health conscious.
The bottom line is, there is little evidence to prove that vegan diets are better, but they may not bad either if meat is replaced with nutrient-dense foods.
At the end of the day, an individual’s optimal health depends on gender, age, metabolic health, activity levels, and personal preference. While vegan diets may be appropriate for some people, they may not be good for others.
Vegan diets are not automatically a bad idea. If people want to eat vegan diets, and they are getting good results, they should stick to that diet but take the necessary supplements.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas