Vegan diet/ veganism is rapidly rising in the world because of various reasons like- health/ animal welfare or environmental concerns. Research also states that, plant-based diets are linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases/ type-2 diabetes/ cancers because of its low saturated fat content (1).
Plant based diets are broadly classified into three types:
Now what is a vegan diet?
Vegan diets strictly exclude the consumption of any animal products – meat, eggs, milk and its products. Some, go a step further and also exclude honey, however, harvesting excess amounts of honey that is stored in a hive can make it non-vegan. It is not just followed as a dietary choice, but some make it part of their lifestyle as well.
People who follow the vegan diet mostly include fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, nuts and seeds predominantly in their diet. However, one should also focus on nutrients such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, iron, calcium and vitamin B12 while following a vegan diet as they can be more prone to these deficiencies. These nutrients are commonly found in animal products.
Benefits of a vegan diet:
While the benefits may seem promising for health, these are potential downsides to this kind of a diet.
There are also some social downsides of following a vegan diet apart from the health front.
While veganism supports the environment and enhances ethical beliefs, this needs to be followed carefully. Following a vegan diet leads to nutrient deficiencies like vitamin B12, D, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids etc. Supplements used to compensate for these nutrients could have side effects. Also, nutrients are better absorbed in their natural forms [from whole foods] when compared to their chemical substitutes.
References: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/7-dangerous-side-effects-of-vegan-diet/photostory/77717097.cms?picid=77717141 https://www.insider.com/the-potential-risks-of-being-vegan-2019-4 https://environmental-conscience.com/veganism-pros-cons/ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149636#nutrients-to-consider https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/plant-based-diets-are-best-or-are-they-2019103118122 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0552-0 https://www.verywellfit.com/health-benefits-and-risks-of-eating-vegan-4104567 https://webber-nutrition.co.uk/vegan-diet-pros-and-cons/