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Is vegan food good for you?
There are many benefits to a vegan based diet. Like with any diet, how much you eat of it will depend on the effects you see. For example, if we were to eat chips every day that would be a vegan diet (technically). However, just because it is vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy for you.
Following from our recent study, vegan diets tend to be high in fibre and vitamin c and lower in saturated fat than a diet including meat – all of which are beneficial. Our research has also shown that vegans have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than people who eat meat. The benefit of having a lower BMI is that you are deemed fitter and are carrying less body fat.
Also, our research has shown, a diet containing less or no meat not only reduces the risk of increased cholesterol levels but also the risk of heart disease. We also know that fat contains more calories per gram than any other food types, therefore vegans consume fewer calories. Lastly, a stereotypical vegan diet is thought to contain more cereals, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts however this can result in people consuming not enough of the other food groups meaning there is a lack of other vitamins and minerals. Therefore, if you were to follow a vegan diet you would need to get these specific nutrients through various vegan food sources and additional supplements. When choosing alternatives ensure to look at the micronutrients in the ingredients to establish a balance in nutrients. For example:
- Humous: Rich in calcium, zinc and iron.
- Soya Milk: Unsweetened, high in calcium and multivitamins.
- Mushrooms: Contain fibre, protein and a rich source of potassium.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to a vegan diet. A lot of people when hearing the phrase “vegan diet” would automatically think it must be super healthy, although many vegan diets can be “super healthy” it is still important to look at the ingredients in the foods you are eating with regard to how much salt, fat and sugar they contain. For example, coconut oil is hugely regarded by people who encourage vegan eating, for different things like frying and adding to meals, however it should be noted that coconut oil is also high in saturated fat, therefore using this specific type of oil with every meal would be detrimental.
It is our belief we should all reduce the amount of meat we eat in our diet and start to consume more plant-based foods. In accordance to the “Eatwell plate” you will see that less than 15% of our diet should be made up of protein. In order to moderate the intake of meat, we should substitute for more plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds, tofu beans etc. as well as having a few meat-free days in the week.
To conclude vegan food is good for you, but it just depends on what type of food you eat!