Is a Vegan Diet as Good as They Say?
Is going vegan really the best idea? Well, that’s a tricky question, and the debate on this topic can never end.
The number of people cutting back on animal products because of environmental, ethical, or health reasons has been increasing over the last decade. And the most popular motivation to go vegan is the promised health advantages.
Surely, a vegan diet is rich in fiber, calcium, and low in cholesterol. However, there are some misconceptions about cutting meat, eggs, and fish completely from the diet. Experts say that the deficiencies linked to a vegan diet may impact brain health. But does that apply to every person who has gone vegan?
To have more insight, we’ve compiled a list of the risks associated with a vegan diet. Have a look.
Risk #1 – Deficiency of Vitamin B12
The most discussed health risk of being vegan is the deficiency of vitamin B12. This vitamin is primarily found in animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or microorganisms like yeast.
Vitamin B12 is extremely significant for brain health, and it’s unreachable in a vegan diet until you choose to get it through supplementation or fortification. Studies say that 50% of vegans are B12 deficient, and the consequences are far-reaching. B12 is important for nerve function, its deficiency may lead to anxiety, depression, and various bowel problems.
Risk #2 – Increased risk of stroke
Researchers have found that those on plant-based diets are at a 20% higher risk of stroke. Why so? This is because plant-based diets lack omega-3 fatty acids, and the deficiency of this nutrient makes the brain vulnerable to conditions like stroke.
Surely, those who don’t eat meat are at a lower risk of heart diseases, but studies have shown that such people are more prone to strokes on the flip side. And since vegans are deficient in vitamin B12, that may also contribute to stroke.
Risk #3 – Iron & Iodine deficit
Renowned dieticians claim that they observe a significant iodine deficiency in people who’ve gone vegan. An iodine deficiency can lead to brain damage, which can easily be prevented with a healthy mix of plant and animal-based diets.
Iodine is predominantly found in cow’s milk, so non-vegans who avoid dairy are also at risk. Similarly, iron, which is required to boost blood cells’ health, is very hard to obtain from a completely plant-based diet. Research shows that almost 50% of vegetarians have an iron deficiency, which often results in low energy levels.
Wrapping it up
Vegan diets are growing in popularity as they offer several health perks like weight loss, better heart health, and less risk of chronic diseases. But a lot more digging has to be done before we establish that a vegan diet is the healthiest among other diets. So plan your meals carefully to ensure that you’re getting a good balance of the essential nutrients to avoid deficiencies.
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