As more of our population is becoming concerned about environmental protection and the longevity of our world, the vegan diet has started to become a more attractive way of life to many. The supposed health benefits that come along with adopting this lifestyle is also an attraction that people are interested in.
Regardless of the reason why a person decides to become a vegan, the vegan lifestyle has become a trend in this day and age.
Whether they are doing this for health benefits or concern for the environment, it is a dramatic change in diet. It’s important to look at what happens to a person’s body after becoming a vegan, and how veganism affects a person’s health in the long term.
The vegan diet has known risks and benefits that have been proven by science. However, studies are still being conducted on what the lasting effects of veganism are on the body.
There are many vegans that are mindful of putting the right nutrients into their bodies that will sustain them, but there are some vegans that don’t necessarily eat very healthy. Since what they are consuming is still vegan, there is a common misconception that all vegan food is healthy.
“It is important not to replace dietary meat with unhealthy foods. Pay close attention to food labeling and make sure that your dietary needs are being met,” said Natalie Butler, a registered and licensed dietitian.
An obvious area where vegans could be lacking if not well managed is their intake of protein. Vegans cannot consume animal products like dairy, meat and eggs which are high in protein. Therefore, vegans have to find other alternatives.
If they fail to do this, they are at risk for protein deficiency. Protein deficiency leads to weight and muscle loss, liver problems and low blood pressure and heart rate. Without protein, your body will become weak and have a harder time recovering from illnesses or injuries.
Another health concern for vegans is their vitamin supply, specifically vitamin D, which is vital to building strong bones. An article by Clay Mcnight discussed the risks of the vegan diet, focusing on the importance of vitamins for vegans.
Mcnight states the “lack of vitamin B-12 is one of the biggest concerns with vegan diets, especially because vegan diets are typically rich is folacin, which can mask B-12 deficiency symptoms.” He recommends that vegans should be mindful of consuming foods high in B-12 like soy and rice beverages, cereals, or supplements.
Mcnight makes the point that vegan diets which are properly planned “are healthy and can even lower the risk of certain diseases according to the American Dietetic Association”, but that “there is a risk of being deficient in certain nutrients if the vegan diet is not carefully planned.”
What Mcnight says about the importance of a planned vegan diet is understandable. If a vegan’s diet is not well thought out, it can lead to deficiencies in vital bodily nutrients and can cause long-lasting health issues if not taken seriously.
Butler recommends that someone considering switching to a fully vegan diet should gradually stop eating animal products for a smoother transition. “Incorporate one meat alternative first, then progress to other non-animal produce, eventually excluding animal produce completely,” she said.
As the trend to adopt the vegan diet is growing, people must be careful. When switching to the vegan diet, people need to properly plan their meals so that they are able to live a healthy vegan lifestyle without nutritional deficiencies.