; this poses the question why are people becoming vegan and is it a good idea?
Rosanna Davison was the first person I heard of being a vegan, she is an animal lover and very passionate about her beliefs. Is she setting a good or bad example? Is going vegan the way forward?
Rosanna is not alone in her beliefs, I see more and more videos on YouTube, articles online and books all claiming that humans do not need to eat animal products and that being a vegan is much more beneficial to our health. However, there are little strong scientific studies showing that being vegan is either beneficial or detrimental to your health. Online advice pieces which lack medical or nutritional expertise are what a lot of people who wish to become vegan are listening to and because of this, some are encountering deficiencies and reducing nutrient intake. It’s very easy to click a YouTube video and listen to the advice of a stranger who may or may not have any qualifications in nutrition and receive bad advice.
If becoming a vegan is your own personal choice then ensure you educate yourself properly on how to maintain a balanced diet without the inclusion of animal products. Read reputable books, journals and studies as vegans can very easily develop nutritional deficiencies. In my opinion, more people are becoming vegans not for moral beliefs but for weight loss reasons and are potentially putting themselves in harm’s way. We are all individual and what works for one person may not work for another. I consume both animal and plant foods and there is plenty of evidence to indicate this is the most ideal way to eat. If you are a vegan then eating balanced diet can be a challenge and you could face the nutrient issues.
Deficiency in vital nutrients
Certain nutrients can only be obtained from either plants or meat. Vitamin B12 for example is a water soluble vitamin that can only be obtained from animal foods or fortified foods. Vitamin B12 is vital in the body for the functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. The American Society for Clinical Nutrition performed a study which indicated that 92% of vegans were deficient in B12; this may be due to a lack of supplementation or not including foods which are fortified with Vitamin B12. When eating a vegan diet ensure to supplement vitamin B12 to avoid becoming deficient in this vital vitamin. Omega – 3 is another nutrient which can be deficient from a vegan diet; it is primarily found in oily fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna. In order to get omega – 3 into the diet ensure to include foods like flax seeds. One benefit from eating a vegan diet is the level of saturated fat and cholesterol is reduced in the body which can decrease the likelihood of obesity and heart disease.
To be continued….next week I will discuss more on the 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