Vegan Food: Benefits and potential risks

...what [...] is truth and what is myth?
Some people eat vegan food for moral reasons - i.e. because of the animals or for reasons of environmental protection. For others it is part of a hip lifestyle or they hope to lose weight as a result. But what about health? The limitation to vegan food leads to malnutrition, some say. Vegans are slim, fit and live longer, some say. But what is the truth and what is the myth about vegan benefits? We have taken a close look at the health benefits. We don't ignore the risks either, but show solutions for avoiding them.

Going vegan: advantages and disadvantages

At the latest since McDonalds offers burgers with vegetable hamburger substitutes, the discussion about vegan nutrition and its pros and cons has arrived in the middle of society. Everyone knows that vegans do without animal products. But only a few know that this means more than just not eating meat and milk. Bee honey and gummy bears with a gelatine content are not vegan either. But not everyone sticks so strictly to it. And in order to be clear: there is no single vegan diet! And not each vegane nourishing way is healthy: Who eats almost only veggie burger, eats in the end also only fast food. And that is not health-promoting at all. As for each other diet also applies here: The dose makes the poison. A healthy vegan diet is only healthy if it is varied.

Living Vegan Can Have Benefits For Health And Well-being

Valuable nutrients
Many studies – for example by the World Health Organization (WHO) – show that a vegan diet is associated with benefits. The absence of fatty meat alone almost always has a positive effect. Since the diet of vegans is based on plants, vitamin-rich vegetables, fresh salads and nuts containing high-quality fats and proteins land much more frequently and regularly on the plate than a mixed diet. Vegan food does not automatically lead to malnutrition, because vegetable food is also rich in nutrients. In addition it contains many dietary fibres and micronutrients – for example secondary plant substances, antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and folic acid.
Proteins and fats: Comparison of vegetable and animal sources
Proteins are the basic components of our body. This applies especially to the essential amino acids. Meat and dairy products are the number one source of such essential amino acids. And proteins are highly necessary for muscle building and muscle maintenance. Athletes in particular fear that a vegan diet will have disadvantages in this respect. However, you can also build muscle packages with vegetable proteins , as long as they contain all essential amino acids. This is the case, for example, with legumes, nuts, whole grains, soy products and some vegetables. They even offer a health benefit: Plant protein sources usually contain less fat and cholesterol than animal sources. The situation is similar with fats. Vegetable products contain significantly more unsaturated fatty acids. These good fats lower the cholesterol level. However, hydrogenated vegetable fats, such as those found in margarine, are excluded.
slimming effect
Someone lives vegan: Does that have advantages or disadvantages in losing weight? Several studies have already investigated this question. Statistics on the body mass index of vegans suggest that vegans are often thinner. In addition, vegan diets proved to be more efficient than mixed diets. This is due to the fact that vegan foods tend to contain a lot of fibre and less fat. However, this does not apply to chips, chips and soft drinks. These vegetable snacks belong to the most unhealthy fatteners at all. With such a nutrition then also the veganism has no health advantages.
Prevention of diseases
A diet that is vegan can, however, offer health benefits. It usually reduces the risk of typical common diseases. Because those who build up fewer fat deposits, absorb a wider range of nutrients and do not eat meat containing cholesterol are less susceptible to cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The Heidelberg vegetarian study conducted by the German Cancer Research Centre has also shown that the avoidance of red, processed meat can significantly reduce the risk of cancer. What these studies do not show, however, is the influence of our lifestyle. It has been shown that most vegans also drink less alcohol, smoke less often and exercise more than the population average. The contribution of vegan nutrition to better health and of other factors cannot be said with certainty.

Vegan Lifestyle: Possible Disadvantages of the Diet

Lack of vegan medication
Sick vegans are stuck in a dilemma: Many drugs are not vegan. Some pressed tablets contain cow's milk lactose and capsule casings often contain gelatine. And what about vaccines? They can often only be produced with the help of animal proteins and cells. However, as far as probiotics are concerned, hardliners can be relieved: The bacteria it contains continue to live happily in the intestines. If you give up probiotic yoghurts, you can also improve your microbial profile in other ways: With the intestinal test from BIOMES you know what your intestinal flora is like and you also get tips for vegan dietary supplements.
Risk of vitamin B12 deficiency
Is it possible to meet the nutritional needs with a vegan diet? Here there are pro and contra arguments. Although vegetable food is rich in nutrients, some micronutrients are only contained in small amounts or more difficult to use in vegetable form. This applies for example to iron. The German society for nutrition registered association (DGE) does not recommend a vegan diet for pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, children and adolescents.
You can solve the problem by using BIOMES dietary supplements to prevent nutrient deficiencies and by having your blood tested regularly. Pay special attention to an adequate supply of vitamin B12. Unfortunately, vitamin B12 only appears sufficiently in animal products. However, vegans can prevent a deficit with special toothpaste and other vitamin B12 preparations.
Vegan benefits? Unhealthy replacement products
Quite a few vegans miss crunchy sausages and juicy steaks. The food industry has also recognised this and developed a wide range of meat substitutes. To ensure that consistency, taste and colour come close to the original, these products contain all kinds of colourings and preservatives, flavours and a lot of salt and fat. These artificial products are therefore anything but healthy. Alternatively, you can make Seitan sausages yourself with healthier ingredients.
Cost factor and effort
The calcium-enriched soy milk and tofu steak are quite expensive. In addition to the cost, vegan food has another disadvantage: You need time and some organization to have a balanced diet and shopping list. In addition, vegans usually have to cook for themselves on a regular basis. Especially when switching to a vegan diet, it is important to make sure you cover your energy needs. Only then no cravings arise for hot dogs and chips.