The vegan diet has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now one of the most popular lifestyle choices available. It excludes all animal products and their by-products including meat, fish, and dairy from a diet. Due to the diet not having any animal products, their diet heavily depends on plant-based and fortified foods for their nutrients.
There has been a range of positive reviews regarding this diet with people feeling the healthiest they have ever been and positive mental health. This is true, for the first year or two, and then you feel just the same as you would when eating a regular diet. A vegan diet is not all that it is made out to be, in this article, we will go through some of the disadvantages of a vegan diet.
Low Energy & Weight Loss
Tracking calories can be extremely difficult when one switches to a plant-based diet from an animal-based diet. There is a good reason for this, an animal-based diet has a lot more calories than a plant-based diet. One of the disadvantages of a vegan diet is that this can be dangerous if you are eating the same sized portions as you would be with your previous diet. If you are a woman, then you should be having around 2,000 calories a day, and for a man, you should be consuming around 2,500 calories. If you do not have enough nutrition, it can have some serious effects on your body as well as increase your chances of reverting back to your previous diet.
Leaky Gut Issue
The vegan diet includes many healthy food products but one thing it is lacking from an animal-based diet is protein. A vegan diet must get its protein from plants which is much harder to absorb making a huge disadvantage to vegans. Some foods higher in protein include legumes, the issue is that they also contain antinutrients such as phytates and lectin. This can cause intestinal problems and cause a condition called ‘leaky gut’. Animal-based products, however, don’t contain these antinutrients.
Soy is a source of plant protein that vegans will turn to. There are many foods made from soy but mostly processed. Tofu and soy milk are just some of the items made from it and is a staple food for people on a plant-based diet. You must be careful how much soy you have in your diet as all soy products contain phytoestrogens. If you take more than your recommended daily amount as it can negatively affect your hormone levels. A hormone imbalance can result in skin pigmentation problems, irregular menstrual cycle, hair loss and bad skin.
Lack of Iron
Iron is an essential mineral that we need for carrying oxygen in our red blood cells around the body. Plant-based foods contain iron, but this iron is in a class called ‘low-heme’ which is much harder to absorb and doesn’t get absorbed properly making it a disadvantage to a vegan diet. This results in vegetarians and vegans being at a higher risk of an iron deficiency. When one has a lack of heme iron in your body can result in anemia and the constant feeling of tiredness. Iron supplements can be used to remedy this, but first speak to your doctor.
Risk Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 mainly comes from animal products as it is put in there food for us to feel the benefits. This means that people on a plant-based diet will be more susceptible to developing a deficiency in this essential nutrient. B12 is a vital vitamin, and a deficiency can cause huge problems that are irreparable. This is why you will see beans having vitamins with B12 in them so that they can have their recommended daily amount so the body can function properly.
Higher Risk Of Depression
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for our brain functions. People that consume a vegan diet are at a higher risk of depression due to their diets not allowing omega-3 which is found in fish. Rather than the healthy omega-3 that we need, we see a rise in omega-6 which is from vegetable oils and nuts. There are alternatives out there including algae-based omega 3 products. These are costly and difficult to find.
Increased Risk Of Developing An Eating Disorder
People who follow a vegan diet are at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder called Orthorexia. Orthorexia is a disorder where people form an unhealthy obsession of restricting themselves of most foods and eating patterns. When one has this disorder, you will find that doctors strongly advise that you do not stay on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
These are just some of the disadvantages of a vegan diet. For you to live a healthy happy life on a vegan diet, then you will need to learn the types of vitamins you need to keep your nutrient and vitamin levels up. If you are struggling with getting your daily amount of calories, it might be worth looking at calory booster drinks etc to help you achieve your goals. If you are feeling any of these risks, then you should go to see the doctor straight away.