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Why A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet May Not Be A Good Choice For You

Many people tend to go vegan, and there are a bunch of reasons why they do so. Generally, people and their choices of food are deeply affected by spiritual and social reasons. A vegan diet is mainly plant-based, consisting of vegetables and fruits which are laden with nutrients. While both vegetarians and vegans DO NOT eat meat, the former still includes dairy products in their diets. As you can assume, going vegan is a lifestyle choice which not many might not be able to handle. However, the much-talked-about vegan diets lack the nutrients which are absolutely essential for our physiological functions. According to scientific studies, people who follow a vegan diet (and people who choose to be vegetarians) are susceptible to various deficiencies regarding calcium, zinc, iron, B12, vitamins A and D, and fatty acids DHA and EPA. What do you miss out on when you switch to a vegan or a vegetarian diet? Here’s they are:

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Lead To Many Complications

Recent studies have suggested that 83% of those following a vegan diet and 68% of vegetarians have a B12 deficiency in comparison to a meager 5% for people who are omnivorous.  B12 aids in the synthesis of the red blood cells as well as DNA. You might encounter any or all of these issues if you do not get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 through your meals.

  • Weakness
  • Memory Loss
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Psychiatric and Neurological problems

Calcium

Contrary to popular belief, vegans and vegetarians generally suffer due to lack of calcium. It is believed that a diet full of green and leafy vegetables like spinach is laden with calcium, but the proper absorption of it during digestion is not adequate. According to a study, just a glass of milk weighing eight ounces will provide you with the same level of calcium that you derive from 16 plates of spinach. Though there are a few vegetables which contain high levels of calcium, several servings of the food are necessary to fulfill the amount of calcium that you can procure from an individual serving of cheese, milk, or yogurt.

Iron

Iron Deficiency Is Common Among Vegans

Vegans and vegetarians generally have lower levels of ferritin in their body as compared to omnivores. Signs of ferritin deficiency implies depletion of iron. It is usually believed that the intake of iron in those people is at par with that of omnivores, but vegans and vegetarians tend to suffer from a greater deficiency in their iron levels — the reason being the presence of a lower level of iron in plant-based food as compared to meat. Iron present in all plant forms is also bottled up in tea, coffee, and other products.

EPA and DHA

Plant-based food generally comprises omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A fatty acid can’t be synthesized or manufactured within the body, and therefore, should be consumed in a diet. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA protect the body from diseases like asthma, depression, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. When compared to non-vegans, vegetarians have 30% less DHA and EPA, whereas vegans have 60% and 50% less DHA and EPA respectively.

Vitamins A and D

Supplements Become The Last Resort For Many Vegans

Vitamins A and D deficiencies among vegans and vegetarians are considered to be a substantial problem. Vitamin A is responsible for good eyesight, skin, fertility, and immunity. Vitamin D plays a big role in reducing risks of cancer and inflammation and takes care of calcium metabolism. These vitamins play a very integral role and are primarily found in various animal products like eggs and dairy products, seafood, and meat. People believe that a plant-based diet contains an ideal amount of vitamin A, but that is actually not the case. It’s not possible to derive an optimum level of vitamin A from plant-based food. The only remaining alternative is the consumption of supplements to cater to the deficiency.

Should You Become A Vegan?

Veganism Is Not The Only Solution

A vegetarian diet can be substantially nutritional if taken with eggs and dairy products. But, in order to possess the necessary levels of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, fish, and marine algae are your go-to sources. But, as discussed above, vegan diets are devoid of all sorts of animal products and contain lower levels of zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, vitamins A and D, and iron. In order to get the proper nutrients, you need to add supplements to your diet plan. If you are looking for a comprehensive diet plan, do not just rely on plant-based food.

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