What Are The Dangers Of Being A Vegan?
- 16 Jun, 2020
There is a certain group of people who decide to turn into a vegan because of their religious views. There is a group of people who want to try veganism because of obesity or an extreme diet plan.
It is true for a fact that veganism is very helpful for the body. Those who suffer from digestion problems can try a vegan diet. It increases the good gut bacteria in the stomach and helps in weight loss.
As the title suggests, this article will be focusing on the dangers and the side effects of veganism. Before starting any type of diet, it is necessary to know pros and cons of it.
Veganism is the practice which states that any product which is produced from the animals shall be prohibited. The person who follows veganism is known as vegan.
Vegan lifestyle is when you abstain yourself from consumption of any food that comes from an animal. The food might include eggs, dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, and honey and so on. Not in just diet, they also prevent the consumption of materialistic products made out of animals.
Eating meat doesn't only have harmful effects on animals but also on the environment. Sometimes, people turn into a vegan lifestyle because they love animals.
Vegan diet has become popular since the dieting has come into existence. In the race of getting healthy and fit, most of the people are trying to find the best diet for themselves. Vegan diet is a little easier to function with and also helps in reduction of weight.
Vegan diet is wholly based on the plant based food products. They are easier to get and aren’t that expensive. You don’t need to do extensive preparations for the same and can also eat them as a salad.
When you start a vegan diet, you may end up replacing high carbohydrate food with the high fiber content foods which improves your digestive system and makes you full for a longer duration. It has many health benefits as well.
So that is all about the vegan diet. Now, it is important to know what the major food sources in vegan diet are.
MAJOR FOOD SOURCES FOR VEGANS
Vegan people have a limited choice of food because no animal product is included. They just have plant based food products. Vegetables become the major source of proteins and macronutrients in the body.
The food products also include fruits, whole grains, soya beans, legumes, tree nuts and seeds. The nutrient source gets limited because of the less options that is why it becomes important to incorporate every macronutrient through these.
A vegan diet doesn’t necessarily indicate a healthy diet. The diet includes various processed foods, sugar and gluten. Non- vegetarians turned into vegans generally end up buying fake meats which are produced by highly processing them.
Those who are into extreme dieting tend to take supplements for the nutrients they get deficient of. Vegan food cannot provide a high amount of energy for exercise purposes.
DANGERS OF VEGAN DIET
Vegan lifestyle has its own share of problems and danger to health. The next section of the article will focus on how vegan diet can affect your health in harmful ways.
LEGUME PROTEIN AND LEAKY GUT
A vegan can not include any kind of animal protein, thus legumes become a major plant based protein source.
Proteins present in legumes also contain certain anti nutrients. These anti nutrients have the property to inhibit the absorption of important macronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
The anti nutrients present in legumes are lectins and phytates which focus on the prevention of any kind of healthy absorption. This increases the intestinal permeability and leads to leaky gut.Whereas, animal proteins or the protein sources from animals do not have any anti nutrients. For this reason, you absorb more of the nutrients in your body.
Leaky gut is a condition of an intestine which is also known as intestinal permeability. In this, the lining of the small intestine gets damaged by accumulation of anti nutrient.This lets the undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to leak through the intestine and reach to the bloodstream.
SOY PROTEIN AND HORMONE DISRUPTION
The fact that a vegan cannot have a stable protein source, they need to find certain food products which are rich in proteins. Soya bean is such plant based food which is rich in protein source and provides many other macronutrients.
As a meat substitute, processed soy is mostly used by vegan people. Soy can be used in the making of tofu, soy milk. The unprocessed soya bean products are not that healthy for these reasons; they are not preferred for a certain group of people.
Soya beans also consist of phytoestrogens which increases the estrogen levels in the body. Phytoestrogen is given as a supplement to the women during their menopause for the smooth procedure.The elevation of estrogen levels can create imbalance in the body. This leads to the disruption in the body and creates problems in the production of hormones.
LACK OF HEMOGLOBIN
The major source of hemoglobin has always been red meat. For vegans, there are very less heme options, even if there are then those are non heme iron. Non heme iron has a drawback that they do not get absorbed by the body that readily.
In India, iron deficient anemia is the most common form of anemia and also nutritional deficiency. Both vegan and vegetarian diets are at high risk of anemia.
Doctors suggest having supplements for iron in their everyday diet. Supplements could reverse the formation of iron deficiency. There are certain people who resist the consumption of it because of its side effects.
Although there is certain plant based iron food but they do not contain that high amount. Anemia can lead to fatigue and weakness. The women who are at child bearing age are advised to turn into non vegetarian for the prevention of anemia.
REDUCTION IN OMEGA 3 FATTY ACID
Omega 3 fatty acid is the major component of fish and fish oils. Although the increased amount of it can be unhealthy for the body but if there is excessively decreased amount of the same then it can affect the body in worsened forms.
Decreased level of omega 3 fatty acid can also lead to depression in vegans. Vegan meals don't even include fish oil which is why it becomes important for the consumption of omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart diseases. Omega 3 fatty acid also reduces the risk of blood clots and keeps the blood in normal consistency. It helps prevent blood platelets from clumping together.For fully vegans, omega 3 fatty acid doesn’t have any vegan food substitute which can take the place of fish completely.
VITAMIN B 12 DEFICIENCY
The only source of vitamin B12 is in animal foods. Vegans are at higher risk of the deficiency in vitamin B12. Deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to certain irreversible side effects.
Vegans are advised by the doctors to keep consuming the supplements of vitamin B12 to prevent health conditions such as constipation, fatigue, weakness, anemia and appetite loss.
Those who have had a genetic condition called MTHFR are at greater risk. It affects the absorption process of vitamin B. It also doesn’t let the vitamin B12 to get absorbed in the body. Thus it becomes difficult for the body to fill that deficiency even with the supplements.Vitamin B12 can lead to serious health conditions as well. It affects the neurological conditions of the body and leads numbness in hands or feet and ultimately to dementia.
INHIBITS ZINC ABSORPTION
Just like vitamin B12, zinc is also hard to get for vegans. There are many food products which are vegan and contain zinc are legumes, nuts and seeds.
Plant based food products also contain phytic acid which prevents the ability to absorb zinc. Phytic acid is one of the anti nutrients which damage the lining of the small intestine. It basically harms the body by mineral deficiencies.
TOO MUCH CARBOHYDRATE
As it was mentioned above, it is a true fact that vegan meals do not have much protein source which also contains certain anti nutrient properties. There are also reports that fully vegan tend to have an increased amount of carbohydrate content.
Vegan diets do not have many options thus they tend to include carbohydrates to reach a satiety level. The vegan food such as legumes also contains carbohydrates.Overconsumption of carbohydrates can lead to imbalance of body metabolism. It can lead to non alcoholic fatty liver, blood sugar deregulation.It is very important to have a balanced diet with the adequate amount of every macronutrient. This fails to happen in vegan diets.
Disordered eating condition here is referred to the over fixation on the food items you consume. This condition is also called orthorexia.Orthorexia is the obsession for healthy food. It can lead to over restricting yourself for a certain kind of food, obsession or any other eating disorders.
Orthorexia is majorly noticed in vegans because of obsessive need for a healthy and plant based diet plan.It is true that being a vegan has its own benefits but you must definitely consider the dangers of turning into one.
Being vegan for a certain period of time may prove to be healthy for your metabolic system but considering the nutrient deficiencies, it could be very harmful for your health.Still, if you consider being a vegan then you must prepare your vegan diet plan properly and with certain supplements so that it benefits you.
Stay healthy! Stay vegan! Stay safe!