Vegan Diet: Whether by belief, by sympathy with animals or by following the example of many celebrities, not eating meat or food of animal origin (vegan diet) is a trend that has been increasing in recent years.
The rise of part-time vegans
In the United Kingdom, for example, in the last decade, the number of people who have become vegan has increased by 350%.
And this is something that is alarming some experts, especially when adopting this diet for fashion.
“When people go vegan because of their religion they know how to do it right. They know how to make up for what they don’t get by not eating meat and dairy products,” said Catherine Collins of the British Association of Dietitians.
“But that’s not often the case for people who go vegan based on the images they see online,” he adds.
“People see pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow and an immaculate bowl of grenades and they want the same thing. It’s like being in the latest fad but the person is potentially messing with their long-term health.”
A vegan diet is one that does not include animal products such as meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, and honey.
There are even vegans who go further and do not cook the vegetables. They are those who follow the diet known as raw vegan.
Many advocates say that the diet has a number of health benefits. However, dietitians argue that the person risks not consuming enough protein, vitamins, and important nutrients.
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According to Jesús Mundo, the president of the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Sciences, told BBC Mundo, vegan “is a complicated diet that if you decide to adopt you have to do it with enough knowledge.”
“When a group of foods is eliminated, in this very broad case since it includes all those of animal origin, there are a series of nutrients that are very difficult to reach only with vegetables”
Vitamin B-12 and proteins
Vitamin B-12 is essential for healthy red blood cells and can help prevent anemia.
The problem is that it is only found in products of animal origin.
“In order for a vegan to survive a long time, since vitamin B-12 deficiency takes time to manifest, they must take supplements of this vitamin.”
Protein helps build and maintain healthy muscles, organs, skin, and bones.
If only vegetables are consumed, you must consume a variety of certain daily products such as nuts, seeds, soy products, legumes, lentils and whole grains to get enough protein.
“Protein is a key element in a person’s diet. To achieve it in a vegan diet, you have to mix different foods – cereals with legumes for example – to obtain quality proteins,” Román explained.
Iron, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids
Iron is vital for energy and for the proper functioning of red blood cells.
But, according to the expert, it is difficult to consume enough iron with a vegetarian diet, since it is more easily absorbed from meat products than from vegetable sources.
Therefore, a vegetarian should eat plenty of dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans or peas, lentils, fortified cereals, and dried fruits.
To increase iron absorption, you must also eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and citrus.
On the other hand, calcium is important for strong teeth and bones, so if you give up dairy products, you need a fortified dairy substitute such as soy milk or fruit juices, cereals or tofu with added calcium.
Green vegetables like broccoli and kale also contain calcium, but relying only on dark green vegetables for calcium can put you at risk for deficiencies of this nutrient.
Meanwhile, Omega-3 fatty acids help promote healthy tissue, eye and brain development, and cardiovascular health. If you don’t eat fish or eggs, you can try to find products enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids, but these can be rare and expensive, so consider a food supplement.
The expert emphasized that before adopting the vegan diet, a person must be well trained, since otherwise it can have health consequences.
He also recommended that vegans undergo blood tests and other rapid check-ups on a regular basis to help determine deficiencies of some essential nutrient.
Originally posted 2020-08-01 06:06:54.