“Vegan is unhealthy.” Right or wrong?

So far [...] it has not been proven that vegan nutrition is generally healthy, nor that it is unhealthy.
"Vegan is unhealthy" - that's the name of the YouTube channel of two convinced vegans. Their approach is to eliminate prejudices against vegans by pushing them to the top. And actually the vegane nourishing way in some special studies occasionally emerges as a winner. So far however neither it is proven that vegane nutrition is generally healthy, nor that it is unhealthy. Fact is however that each nourishing way is recommendable only if it is based on a balanced mix from different food.

This is especially true for vegans. Without dietary supplements and a carefully designed diet planthey run the risk of developing a deficiency of some nutrients. That applies in particular to Vitamin B12, which the body cannot manufacture and which occurs in vegetable food only in very small quantities. A deficit only becomes noticeable when the nervous system is already irreparably damaged.

The German Society for Nutrition ("Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.") therefore does not recommend a vegan diet for pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, children and adolescents – i.e. groups of people who have an increased need for nutrients. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) – a renowned association of physicians and nutritionists – considers a vegan diet suitable for all situations in life. "Vegan is basically unhealthy," says none of the two institutions. Because the influence on the health depends on many factors.

When vegan food is unhealthy

Those who eat vegan food will eventually live unhealthily if they ignore some things. The example of the mineral iron illustrates this fact well. Iron is essential for blood formation. Who is not sufficiently supplied with it, feels defeated or suffers even from further symptoms. The iron requirement can be covered most efficiently by red muscle meat such as beef steak or pork loin. But the image of pale vegans is only half the truth. Some vegetable foods such as sesame or oat flakes are also rich in iron. However, vegetable sources of iron have one disadvantage: the body uses them less efficiently. The absorption succeeds only optimally if vegans consume at the same time fruit or vegetable sorts, which contain much vitamin C. It is also important to know that high coffee and tea consumption makes it difficult to use. Smoking and competitive sports also have an effect on the iron requirement. Chronic gastrointestinal inflammations reduce the absorption capacity, and last but not least the genes play a significant part – these last two factors also apply to mixed food consumers. Only a complete blood count test provides certainty.

Many vegans have therefore made it a habit to have their blood tested at least once a year. This allows deficits to be identified in time, even before the body's own storage is used up. Vegan food is therefore not per se unhealthy, but requires more effort and attention. That has also positive effects: Who eats consciously, makes itself generally more thoughts over a healthy life change. In things precaution vegans stand very well compared to the population average. Many studies show that vegans smoke less often, drink less alcohol and exercise more often.

Eating vegan and avoiding unhealthy disadvantages

Anyone planning to change their diet should first find out which vegan foods contain which nutrients in significant amounts. Especially in the initial phase, it is important to pay attention to your own energy balance. Plant-based foods tend to contain fewer calories than animal foods. Many vegans in the beginning observe a vegan weight loss effect in the course of their diet change, which is however then unhealthy, if slim humans lose too fast or too much body weight.

Apart from a sufficient supply with micro nutrients vegans must pay attention also to the vital component protein. Many vegetable food is protein-rich and the proteins have some health advantages, but some skill is required when combining. This is the only way to make sure that you consume all the essential amino acids that are indispensable for your body.

Vegetables, fruit, wholemeal products and legumes are important components of our diet and are purely vegetable. However, there are also vegan foods that can have a negative effect on health. These include, for example, fatty chips and some strongly industrially processed foods that imitate animal convenience products. The taste, consistency and appearance of pork chops and cheese can only be copied if the vegetable raw materials are processed beyond recognition and provided with all kinds of additives. They are therefore hardly suitable as basic foodstuffs.

Vegan diet can be very healthy

Is vegan nutrition healthy or not? There is no general answer to this question. If you consider the abovementioned points, you will benefit from health benefits. However, it would be wrong to assume that vegan nutrition can solve all health problems. Contrary to the promises of some food trendsetters, vegan nutrition is not suitable for fighting migraines on your own. More serious and meaningful are scientific studies such as the Heidelberg Vegetarian Study and the observations of AND. Researchers largely agree that vegan food has the potential to prevent the following diseases:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and heart attack
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Various cancer diseases
  • In addition, vegan nutrition also seems to be healthy for the intestinal flora. This is mainly due to the high fibre content of a vegetable diet. The intestinal test INTEST.pro from BIOMES tells you in an uncomplicated way how your intestines are doing and whether you can support them with the consumption of certain foods such as fermented products or probiotic dietary supplements.