Time and again we keep coming across some public figure turning vegan or read about the benefits of a plant based diet. Lately, there has been a lot of misinformation about turning vegan and losing weight. People are confusing veganism as a weight loss diet when it’s actually an eating preference or a way of living. They often end up using the term plant based diet and veganism interchangeably.
Veganism is a practice of not using any animal product particularly in the diet, they tend to avoid honey, animal produce like milk, milk products, eggs, animal meat and animal goods such as leather.
Initially, this was thought of as an extreme way of living but with more and more people taking it up because of ethical reasons or to consume more sustainable foods or to protect animals or even to adapt a healthier way of living, it has become easier to comply to as availability of resources is higher.
Now that we know what it is, let’s get into the pros and cons of the same:
Pros of Veganism
- Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels
A vegetarian diet and especially a vegan diet has shown to serve many health benefits. Various research studies have shown how individuals complying to a vegan dietary pattern have had a significant drop in low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and hence leading to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.
When it comes to hypertension or maintaining optimum blood pressure levels, vegan diets in comparison to a meat rich diet have shown to reduce risk of high blood pressure levels.
- High in antioxidant and fibre rich foods
Vegan diets constitute a high amount of whole grains, pulses, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. These are all nutrient dense foods. Being on a vegan diet ensures a high amount of vitamins like Vitamin C,E and folate, fibre and minerals.
- Suitable for people with lactose intolerance/sensitivity
Vegan diets are devoid of all dairy products and are suitable for those who have lactose intolerance or sensitivity.
Cons of Veganism
- Lacks nutrients like Vitamin D, B12 , calcium and iron.
Animal products like meat, eggs, fish and milk are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin D, B12, calcium and iron and being vegan can deprive you of the same. Adding high quality fortified foods to your diet or speaking to your health professional regarding alternate foods and supplements are some strategies one can adopt.
- Contains incomplete essential amino acid profile protein foods:
Deciding to go vegan is one thing and making daily efforts to get in all your nutrients is another. Vegan diets are rich in second class protein or incomplete protein but if you want to consume a higher amount of essential amino acid profile in your diet, you must make sure you are consuming a mix of protein rich foods like beans, tofu, millets, nuts divided in meals through the day.