There is a lot of information out there, maybe even a bit too much of it. How do you know what’s true and what isn’t? That’s a tough one. It is never a good idea to trust a source explicitly but some sources are surely better than others. Bad source – probably this blog; good source – scientific studies.
Being vegan is not about the diet you eat, but it is about trying not to harm living beings in any way, trying to give animals the same amount of respect and dignity that you tend to give to your fellow humans or pets. If you want to become vegan but you are worried a bit about your health or not sure if it is a good idea yet, then some of this studies may be able to help you out on your journey. People often claim that as a vegan you can’t get certain nutrients, you can’t get enough protein or that you will become wayyy too skinny. All you need for a good start on your plant-based journey is a proper introduction to vegan nutrition.
People will always talk but science is science. Let’s dive in…
1. Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet
“Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates.” – Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. The Permanente journal, 17(2), 61–66. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/12-085
The research states that physicians should consider recommending plant-based diets to their patients and especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.
2. Plant Foods Have a Complete Amino Acid Composition
The study discusses the misinformation about whether or not plant foods have a complete amino acid composition and proves that they DO. The study notes how essential it is to correct that misinformation as so many people are afraid to go on a vegetarian or vegan diet due to worries that they may not be getting sufficient protein. The study also notes how if people are wrongly encouraged to eat animal protein for nutrients then they will continue consuming too much animal food which is known to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many forms of cancer.
“A careful look at the founding scientific research and some simple math prove it is impossible to design an amino acid–deficient diet based on the amounts of unprocessed starches and vegetables sufficient to meet the calorie needs of humans. Furthermore, mixing foods to make a complementary amino acid composition is unnecessary.” Source
3. Comparison of Nutritional Quality of the Vegan, Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diet
If you want to find out whether going vegan is the best thing for you (and if not, then what is?), then you may wanna check this one out. The aim of this study was to compare the quality and the contributing components of vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian and omnivorous diets.
“The use of indexing systems, estimating the overall diet quality based on different aspects of healthful dietary models (be it the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans or the compliance to the Mediterranean Diet) indicated consistently the vegan diet as the most healthy one.” Source
In the article, you can see in detail how the diets were scored, where veganism scored low, where it scored high and how it compared to some other diets.
4. Low cardiometabolic risk
A study by Luigi Fontana, Timothy E Meyer, Samuel Klein, and John O Holloszy conducted in 2007, found that long-term vegan diets with minimal calories and protein, as well as regular endurance exercise training, are linked to lower cardiometabolic risk. Furthermore, their findings imply that certain components of a low-calorie, low-protein vegan diet may have additional blood pressure benefits.
So, if you are worried about not getting enough protein, you can read the research and find out more about their findings.
5. Dairy fat, saturated animal fat, and cancer risk
A study by H Kesteloot and E Lesaffre, J V Joossens, dating back all the way to 1991 examined the connection between per-person fat intake from dairy products and lard and cancer mortality by cause, using 1979-1981 FAO data from 36 countries.
The results show that dairy and lard fat intake were found to have significant relationships (P less than 0.01) with total, breast, prostate, rectal, colon, and lung cancer. It may also be possible to demonstrate significant links between site-specific cancer mortality and ischemic heart disease mortality. The findings back up the idea that saturated fat plays a significant role in cancer promotion.