Saturday, December 1, 2018

Unbiased Diet Review: The Vegan Diet

Veganism is a diet that many people have used and been successful with when it comes to weight loss. We are going to be exploring Veganism from an unbiased view. Once again, I am not telling you whether you should go vegan or not. I am simply sharing the facts about this diet.

What is Veganism? 
Veganism is based around the idea of avoiding not only meat but any sort of animal product whatsoever. I would like to distinguish the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan. A vegetarian is someone who avoids meat but a vegan avoids not only meat but dairy, cheese and basically anything that is produced from an animal. The reasons for going on this diet range from health reasons, to financial reason, environmental reasons and also moral reasons. Those who go on a vegan diet may believe it is morally wrong to eat meat or animal products and therefore avoid them completely. Now do I have experience with veganism, no I do not. I have never been on a vegan diet before but I am very fascinated by the vegan diet as it seems to have become a trend that many people are following. Let's look at the pros and cons of veganism.

The first pro of going vegan is that you will be helping the environment. According to the University of British Columbia, "Modern agriculture is now the number one contributor to a variety of factors that impose hazards to the environment, including and not limited to, an increase in rates of methane and CO2, overconsumption of water, overuse of land resources, waste production, water and air quality degradation, deforestation, and species extinction(1)." Not to mention the fact that the meat industry contributes to 18% of all greenhouse gases(1). There is also evidence that vegetarianism and veganism are highly effective for weight loss. "In 2006, after reviewing data from 87 published studies, authors Berkow and Barnard reported in Nutrition Reviews that a vegan or vegetarian diet is highly effective for weight loss. They also found that vegetarian populations have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity(2)." They have even linked vegan and vegetarian diets with a lower risk of mortality(2). The moral and ethical benefits of going vegan are the fact that you are not contributing to animal cruelty in the meat industry. "Though no less capable of suffering than their domestic and wild counterparts, animals raised for meat, eggs, and milk in the United States have long been denied any meaningful protection while enduring the most egregious forms of mistreatment at all stages of their lives(3)." There are many issues with factory farming in the meat industry. Cows and Chickens are stuck in cages where they can't move and aren't very free. That is cruel and morally wrong. So by going vegan, you are choosing to boycott an industry that has been known to be ethically questionable.

The one con of veganism is the fact that by not consuming meat you missing certain nutrients that your body needs to function. "Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed. In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals(4)." Luckily, as the last quote states, you can easily get these nutrients through supplements and other foods. You just need to really make sure that you are getting all these nutrients that you are missing from meat so do your research on this before starting this diet. The next one specifically applies to those who are going on a vegan diet specifically for weight loss, it is hard to sustain. You have to be very motivated to cut out all animal products. Another con of veganism is the lack of research around the subject matter. "Although preliminary data are valuable, more scientific studies on vegans are needed to get a clearer picture of their health status(4)." Hopefully, there will be more research on the subject of veganism and vegetarianism in the future because of the health benefits and many other benefits that come from being vegan are great! 


Overall, veganism has a lot of benefits not only to your health but to the environment and also by fighting animal cruelty in the meat industry. The main cons are related to the lack on micro-nutrients you find in meat, which can easily be supplemented for, the amount of discipline it requires to be on a vegan diet for weight loss, and also the lack of research behind the subject.  


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