Veganism used to be a way of life, but after it attained widespread popularity, veganism has become a trend. Being a vegan for health reasons helps maintain your body to some extent but adapting it as a trend, without any knowledge of how it is best followed, might lead to weakness and poor health.
All you need to know about veganism
Veganism, in a nutshell, means excluding all kinds of animal products for ethical, health, or environmental purposes. A person practicing veganism is commonly known as a ‘Vegan’. A complete end towards using animal-based products or their by-products is veganism. Interestingly veganism is so deep towards the protection of animals and against animal cruelty that people practicing veganism don’t even use milk or any dairy products, honey, leather accessories, or personal care products, and more that is made out of any kind of animal by-product. Vegans believe that instead of exploiting and destroying animals' lives in any way, it is better to move to plant-based products. Veganism became popular after the launch of plant-based industries.
Why does veganism lead to poor health?
1. Only Legumes/vegetable protein sources can adversely affect your gastrointestinal tract
Green vegetables contain a high level of anti-nutrients such as lectin and phytates which boost intestinal permeability and cause an illness called a ‘leaky gut’. On the other hand, animal products do not have anti-nutrients.
2. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates.
Since vegans eliminate the source of protein, they usually end up consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates like bread, biscuits, cookies, and other such products filled with carbohydrates. When the body does not get the proper amount of nutrients responsible for growth and immunity, it leads to an imbalance in hormones. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates can cause fatty liver diseases, blood sugar irregularities, etc.
3. Hormonal disruptions and irregular menstrual cycles
Since vegans don’t have a constant source of protein, they generally prefer to substitute it with soya beans. While soy is rich in protein but unprocessed soy leads to sickness. Soy comprises phytoestrogen (hormone influencers) which boosts up the estrogen level in the body. A sudden rise in estrogen levels in the body generates an imbalance that disturbs the production of hormones. In females, consuming soy more than wanted sometimes interrupts the menstrual cycle.
4. Vitamin B12 deficiency
The most common and repeated illness by eating vegan food is the deficiency of vitamin B12. Majorly, animal food is a supplement of vitamin B12; vegans are at higher risk of acquiring this deficiency. When the body finds difficulty in filling the void of vitamin B12, it shows common symptoms like weakness and fatigue. And if vitamin B12 is not taken as per the requirement to the body, it leads to irreversible side effects as well as serious ailments like constipation, anemia, appetite loss, numbness in hands and feet.
5. Low omega-3 fatty acid.
Omega-3 fatty acid comes from fish and fish oils. When you stop the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, it leads to depression. Omega-3 fatty acid helps to maintain blood consistency, prevents blood platelets from clumping, and reduces blood clots. Substituting Omega-3 fatty acid with Omega-6 fatty acid (from nuts and vegetable oil) creates an imbalance in the fatty acids present in the body which inturn increases the risk of cancer.
6. Risk of acquiring an eating disorder
Being a vegan cuts your appetite and the number of nutrients needed in half. In that half proportion, vegan food does not supply non-vegan protein. Orthorexia is an eating disorder, where a person has an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy diet patterns by restricting from eating non-vegan food. Following a proper vegan diet plan with a nutritionist is safe but an obsession will lead to various problems in the future. Even doctors recommend not staying on a restrictive diet.
What if you want to go vegan but are afraid of its potential risks?
It is advisable to follow veganism only if it is needed for health reasons. The most primal and basic need of humans is to eat and this is something that gets stronger when you restrict your diet in any way. If you want to have your cake and eat it too, there are alternatives such as plant-based meats, almond milk, and more through which you can be vegan and still eat meat. Following veganism without completely changing your dietary habits is also possible if you stop using accessories made from animal skin like leather bags, shoes, belts, handbags, sunglasses cases and switch to pseudo-leather products or by adopting other such products that do not harm animals in any way.
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