A vegan diet may not be a healthy diet
There are a number of studies which indicate that a vegan diet is very high in vitamin C, fibre and low in saturated fat as previously discussed. When we hear the term vegan, we automatically think heathy as a number of individuals claim to have increased health benefits and weight loss from following a vegan diet. Even if a food is marketed as vegan you must still read food labels; this will indicate the amount of fat, sugar and salt present in the food. For example, coconut oil is now very popular in many households for baking, cooking with and as a spread but it’s very high in saturated fat and its benefits are still being studied, so its recommended it in small amounts. Avocado is another food present in many vegans’ diet but again has a high fat and calorie content with over 350 calories. Education is key when consuming a vegan diet. Most individuals who choose to eat vegan do so for ethical reasons; these individuals are more likely to care about what they are consuming and educate themselves on the foods they should and should not be eating. Whereas some people who wish to lose weight and use a vegan diet as a means to do this, may not be resourceful about the foods they consume and think once a food is marketed as vegan that it is healthy.
Humans have been consuming meat for thousands of years and through evolution our bodies have adapted to it. Never fear that you will be unable to digest meat and that meat or other animal products are not desirable in a human diet; this is simply not the case. We are more than capable of digesting, absorbing and making full use of many beneficial nutrients present in animal products. The only issue arises when we eat processed meat products; these include foods like packet turkey, ham, sausages, salami etc. Most processed meat comes from animals that are conventionally raised in factories and are not fed on grass and proper feed and have other additives. These meats can cause harm to our health and you are never really sure what part of the animal you are eating. Processed meat contain high levels of saturated fats and are proven to contribute to heart disease and obesity which can lead to further complications such as diabetes.
There is no scientific proof that a vegan diet is the heathy option. If you are avoiding animal products as you think they are unhealthy then fear not as they are packed full of high quality protein, omega fats, vitamins and minerals. If you wish to avoid animal products due to ethical or religious reasons then I stress the need to educate yourself on achieving a balanced diet. At the end of the day the optimal diet is one that is balanced no matter what age or gender you are or if you have a personal or cultural preference. If you follow a vegan diet, I recommend supplementation like Iron or B12 as these are vital nutrients that can be deficient in a vegan diet.
Whelehans Nutrition Service
Whelehans nutritional service is a private one to one advice service with our nutritionist Aisling Murray. Aisling’s areas of interest include weight loss management, nutrition education and food intolerance. Our nutrition service offers you the chance to change your life in a positive way by focusing on your overall wellbeing as well as the chance to follow up on your progress.
Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment