In recent years, there has been a huge influx of people becoming more conscious with their buying habits as well as their eating habits. The world is on its lost legs, and research suggests that if people go on a vegan diet or reduce their intake of meat, it can help to reduce Co2 emissions. Although there may be many health benefits for a vegan, it isn’t right for everyone. In this article, we will go through some of the pros and cons of a vegan diet.
What is a Vegan Diet?
Some vegans choose to go on this diet for health reasons, others for the environment, and many who do it for the animals. A vegan diet is a stricter version of a vegetarian diet, the difference is that a vegan diet removes any type of animal product from their life, this includes animal products, eggs, honey, dairy, and leather. A vegan lifestyle will also remove all animal-tested products from their life for cruelty-free versions as well as more sustainable things. There is becoming more choice for a vegan lifestyle, but there is still a long way to go until these items are anywhere near as good as the real alternatives.
Whilst there are health benefits to a vegan diet, you would only see the real improvements on a raw vegan diet. A vegan diet isn’t for everyone and can make people poorly, so it is best to do all of your research before committing.
Advantages (Pros) of a Vegan Diet
1) No Animal Impacts
Due to a vegan diet removing all animal products and by-products from their diet and lifestyle, there is going to be a reduction in the number of animals killed due to a lack of demand. By eating meat, there are far too many animals killed and then gone to waste. There are now other alternatives that can give you a sufficient amount of nutrition.
2) Better for The Environment
Many people turn to a vegan diet not only for the animals but also for the environment. In recent years, there has been a lot of research to show how livestock and its farming is affecting our planet. Research has shown that there is less environmental impact on a vegan diet due to reduced amounts of water being used.
3) Can Lead to Weight Loss
If you follow a vegan diet, people have noticed that they have lost weight. The diet alone won’t reduce your weight, but the whole lifestyle may. Eating whole-grain foods and healthy plant-based proteins seriously reduces the amount of fat and calories you consume. This may stop after your body has gotten used to your new diet and sometimes if you lose too much weight, you may find that you put on more weight than you lost.
4) Increase your Life Expectancy
There has been a lot of talk about how vegans have a life expectancy. The truth is, nobody can prove that this is true or not. Vegans may live longer or, due to a vegan looking after themselves and exercising more, they may, but those who don’t may not.
5) You Consume More Antioxidants
If you eat red meat, many toxins can make you feel sluggish. A vegan diet on the other hand has a completely different feel to it. Due to a vegan diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and whole grains, you will feel more energetic due to them all being high in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
6) Improved Cooking Habits
A vegan diet is not as quick and as easy to cook as other diets so you need to be able to learn how to cook all of your different types of foods whilst also being able to do meal prep. Due to it being much harder to go out for something nice to eat, you will have to learn to cook for yourself.
7) Improved Heart Health
Studies suggest that people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet are around a third less likely to dies of heart disease. Due to a vegan and vegetarian diet having a lot more of certain nutrients, it can lead to lower blood pressure, healthier weight, improved cholesterol, and also reduces the incidents of diabetes type 2.
8) Overfishing may be prevented
Not only are animals of the land being killed for food, but the fish in the sea are also being affected and fish stocks are shockingly low. If we continue to overfish, we may run out of fish in the sea. To avert contributing to this, a vegan diet does not allow the consumption of fish.
Disadvantages (Cons) of a Vegan Diet
1) Can be Expensive
Due to a vegan diet having its own brands that make much smaller versions of the real thing, it can be more expensive than a diet that includes either dairy or meat. Due to the innovative technology being used, it is only normal for these things to be more expensive. Once there is more of a demand, the prices will lower.
2) Lacks Essential Nutrients
Due to a vegan diet removing all dairy and meat from their diet, they are missing out on some essential vitamins including Iron, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and most importantly vitamin B12. These are essential minerals that we need for basic bodily functions. If you do decide to go vegan, be prepared to be taking lots of vitamins including vitamins with B12 in them.
3) Difficult to Eat Out
Due to veganism being a relatively new lifestyle to be following as a trend, it is much harder to be able to go to a nice restaurant to have a meal. It is even harder when you go on holiday due to language barriers and also it not being as popular in that country. If you are going to follow a vegan diet, be prepared to be eating chips or salad when you go to a friend’s birthday meal.
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4) It’s Easy to Binge Eat the Wrong Foods
Due to everything taking longer to cook with a vegan diet, it is easy to buy frozen foods and snacks so that you can eat quickly. But in reality, if you are going vegan, chances are that it will be for a health reason too, so be careful not to binge on fast food as this is a one-way ticket to becoming larger whilst having some health concerns due to you not having the right nutrition in your diet.
5) Reduction of Muscle Mass
Due to a vegan diet consisting of fruit and vegetables, and meat being absent, it can lead to less physical and mental strength. This is certain if you do not take the recommended supplements to get the vitamins you are missing. You can also reduce your muscle mass with a vegan diet. This is due to proteins that are essential for building and maintaining muscle mass are lacking.
6) A Vegan Diet May Stunt a Child’s Growth
A child needs a varied diet for growth and development and it is essential that they are provided with the correct vitamins and nutrients in order to stay healthy. Although a vegan diet has many advantages, this may not be the best option for them as it can result in critical nutrient deficiencies that will harm your children.
7) Limited Food Choice
It is no secret that a vegan diet is known as the most restrictive plant-based diet that you can live by. If you start living on a vegan diet, and you are used to having a wide selection of foods as well as going to nice restaurants, you should expect to reduce your options significantly. For many, this type of restriction is too much.
8) Social Isolation
No matter what diet you follow, you will always have people’s food choices come under scrutiny, this may be even more true for a plant-based diet. Whilst a vegan diet is a much more accepted lifestyle and plant-based food is more available, you may still get questioned and challenged about your rationale for living a vegan lifestyle. Whilst those who don’t know how to accommodate a vegan may leave you out of certain events or gatherings. This has been known to happen but the best way to get help is through connecting with other vegans on social groups.
There are many benefits of a vegan diet including a lower risk of certain illnesses, a reduced number of animals killed and it being a more sustainable lifestyle which are all great causes for going vegan. There are, however, some serious disadvantages of a vegan diet including the lack of certain nutrients like vitamin B12. It may also not be suitable for children to follow this type of diet for their growth and development. If you follow a vegan diet that provides the correct amount of nutrition and you take your supplements every day, you can live a happy healthy life.