When it comes to lifestyle diets there is never a simple yes or no answer. Every diet can be healthy or unhealthy, and that is highly dependent on the individual. It is important to be aware of the nutrients our diet provides and the ones it is lacking. If you want to find out more about the nutrients to watch out for when being vegan check out our previous post. Let’s explore a bit more about what going vegan means to our bodies!  

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Vegan diet pros

↓ cholesterol levels in blood, in particular “the bad” cholesterol
↓  blood pressure compared to omnivores (the all-eaters)
↓  BMI (body mass index)
↓  incidence of coronary heart disease
↓  risk of suffering from diverticular disease – a type of intestinal disease

May help prevent diabetes

Vegan diet cons

May be too bulky & too low in energy for children, leading to poor growth

↑ risk of vitamin B12 deficiency
↑ risk of anaemia (caused by low iron intake)
↑ risk of bone diseases caused by low calcium, vitamin D and protein intake (like osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children)
↑ risk of bone fractures (see above)

Associated with children being born with low birth weights (linked to many chronic diseases in later life such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease)

↑ risk of poor iron status in pregnancy

The vegan diet may be lacking in some key nutrients, but fear NOT! Read on and find out how these can be obtained.

Vitamin B12

Can be obtained from marmite, fortified breakfast cereals and plant milks

Vitamin D

Can be made from UV-B light

Retinol (animal form of vitamin A)

Can also be made from beta-carotene (present in vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato and dark green leafy veg)

Long chain n-3 PUFA (*Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids)

Long chain n-3 PUFA can be made from ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) found in foods such as flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, and soybean oil

Taurine (an essential amino acid)

Our body can also produce it from cysteine. Cysteine is present in foods such as red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, brussels sprout, oats

Whether you’re team vegan or not, always make sure your diet is full of colourful fruit and veg, whole grains and small amounts of healthy fats. You can find out more about being vegan on the Veganuary campaign website.