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Vegan Diet: Is It Really Healthy? Know The Risks Involved

Vegan diet: For some, to even think of living with basic everyday foods like eggs, milk, cheese, butter and honey may seem like a big deal. And, the concern about getting adequate protein is unprecedented, especially in a vegan diet.

Vegan Diet: Is It Really Healthy? Know The Risks Involved

Vegan diet: Studies have shown that vegans tend to have better heart health

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The quality of vegan diet that one follows is important
  2. The diet may increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies
  3. It may lack variety and feel monotonous

Of the many reasons that people are now deciding to follow the vegan diet, the fact that it is healthier tops the list. But is that really true? Let's understand what a vegan diet is. A vegan diet is a vegetarian diet, minus milk, eggs, cheese, honey and all other foods that are obtained from animals. A vegan diet is exclusively plant-based diet, where you can eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, breads, rice, pasta, vegetable oils and dairy alternatives like soy milk and nut milk. What you can't eat in a vegan diet are foods like meat, chicken, fish, sea food, eggs, cheese, butter, milk, cream, ice cream, mayonnaise and honey.

Vegan diet: Is it really healthy?


Now seeing the list of foods you cannot eat in a vegan diet, you may instantly think that's a lot. For some, to even think of living with basic everyday foods like eggs, milk, cheese, butter and honey may seem like a big deal. And, the concern about getting adequate protein is unprecedented, especially in a vegan diet.

Having said that, it cannot be ignored that vegan diet has been found to be beneficial too. Studies have shown that vegans tend to have better heart health and are at lower risk of getting conditions like obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and even high blood pressure.

Despite this, very few studies are conducted on vegans and even though the number of vegans are rising across the world, they make up for a really small population.

Also read: Following A Vegan Diet? Do Not Miss These Immunity Boosters

Not everyone may follow the same kind of vegan diet

Some people may follow the vegan diet in a highly nutritious way by eating lots of fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein sources like nuts, seeds, lentils, legumes and soy foods. But for others, the diet may solely contain pasta, tomato sauce, bread and maybe a lot of packaged foods. They may end up consuming lots of saturated fats, which can have different health implications, reports shethepeople.

Thus, the quality of vegan diet that one follows will hugely determine how healthy their diet really is.

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Follow the vegan diet by eating lots of fruits and vegetables
Photo Credit: iStock

Lack of variety ad affordability

Not just dairy-based foods, but eliminating all animal-derived foods like eggs and honey can make vegan diet restricting and monotonous. Plus, everyone may not be able to afford plant-based alternatives like soy milk, edamame, nut butters, etc. While the Indian diet, which has staples like roti, rice, dal and sabzi as it staples, it may still be difficult to afford the vegan diet and follow it in the long run.

Also read: Dairy: Is It Good Or Bad For You?

Nutritional deficiency risk

Dairy foods like milk, cheese, cottage cheese and eggs are all a great source of protein and calcium. Eggs too, are an excellent source of protein. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Trying to obtain these foods from solely plant-based foods may be difficult and may put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies.

So, there are a lot of ifs and buts associated with the vegan diet so far. We would recommend you follow under strict supervision from an expert.

Also read: Vegan Diet: 5 Essential Tips For Vegan Beginners


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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