There are definitely health benefits to certain elements of veganism, there is no doubt that if you are looking to lower your levels of fat, cholesterol and get lean then being vegan is the right choice for you, BUT it still doesn’t compare with a well-balanced diet incorporating dairy and meat/fish. But is there enough research completed now to have a normal, healthy lifestyle while on a vegan diet?
With Tofu, Quorn and other meat substitutes all used as alternatives for protein, it makes the vegan diet a little more tempting to try. But do they truly offer the same nutrition? There’s definitely positives to going vegan rather than eating red meat with unhealthy fats and choosing vegan substitutes that offer much lower cholesterol. That being said, not a lot of people really know what tofu is, and because a lot of people are unknowingly allergic to soy (its main ingredient) it can cause flare ups, and isn’t the ideal alternative for a considerable amount of people. Vegan probiotics and supplements are also available now to help boost any deficiencies you might have after turning to a vegan diet, regular check ups and personal reviews should be done to make sure that the diet is agreeing with your body. Mood swings, weight loss/ gain and other deficiencies can come with radical diet changes, and supplements are there to help boost your system.
As veganism has become more popular and ‘on trend’, more athletes have turned to it. Some have managed to perform at the highest level on a vegan diet and are therefore the poster boys for it. However, the key problem with this is that it may well be possible for an athlete who has a full-time nutritionist, sports scientist and chef to successfully have a well-balanced diet, but for your average person, it is much harder to achieve. A recent Netflix documentary called ‘The Game Changers’ featured this as a central storyline but in the time since it was released people have researched the athletes featured and found that whilst they may be at an elite level of sport still, their performances have dropped since becoming vegan. Fighters have lost more fights, athletes are running slower times.
It is much easier for your average person to get all of their required nutrients from a diet that incorporates meat and fish. If you are looking for a healthier option to eating meat then the best diet out there is probably the pescatarian diet. Fish is extremely lean but high in protein and vitamins, you are still able to get protein from eggs, and calcium from dairy, along with your choice of fruits and vegetables without needing to take supplements or run the risk of potentially finding out one day that genetically modified foods do have a hazardous effect on the human body. Vegans have traditionally always been a very small portion of society and only around 75 years ago did it actually start as a diet. In the last decade numbers have increased greatly meaning that we are likely to get more reliable evidence on the impacts of a vegan diet over the coming decades.