Veganism is being practiced by many people today, especially those who are concerned about cruelty to the animals. According to this practice, any product obtained from animals must not be used or consumed. An individual who follows this practice is called a vegan. When you stop consuming any food that comes from an animal, you’ve adopted a vegan lifestyle.
The food that comes from animals include dairy products, eggs, poultry, fish, meat, and several others. The practice of veganism is not restricted to diet. It also prohibits the consumption of materialistic products that are made out of animals. Eating meat is not only harmful to the animals but also to the environment in general. Many people adopt a vegan lifestyle because of their love for animals.
The popularity of vegan diet has also increased ever since the practice of dieting began. In their attempts to get healthy and stay fit, many are trying to find the most appropriate diet. Vegan diet can be quite helpful in weight reduction. It only includes the consumption of plant-based foods and food products. However, there are some major disadvantages of being a vegan as well:
1. Leaky gut
Since a vegan cannot consume any kind of animal protein, their major sources of protein are legumes. Proteins present in these plant-based sources also contain some anti-nutrients. Such anti-nutrients inhibit the absorption of important vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients. Lectins and phytates are the anti-nutrients present in legumes.
They come in the way of any form of healthy absorption. As a result, intestinal permeability is increased and this leads to leaky gut. Animal proteins do not have any such anti-nutrients. The protein sources from animals absorb more of the nutrients in your body owing to this reason.
Leaky gut is a condition which damages the lining of the small intestine through the accumulation of anti-nutrients. As a result, bacteria, toxic waste products, and undigested food particles leak through the intestine and reach the bloodstream.
2. Hormone disruption
Vegans don’t have a stable source of protein. Due to this fact, they have to find protein-rich food products. One such plant-based food is soya bean. It is rich in protein and also has several other macro-nutrients. Processed soy is mostly used by vegans as a substitute for meat. Soy is used for making soy milk or tofu. The unprocessed soya bean products are not that healthy and are not preferred by some individuals.
Soya beans also have phytoestrogens, which increase the levels of estrogen in the human body. Women are given phytoestrogen as a supplement during their menopause. There can be a certain degree of imbalance in the body owing to an increase in estrogen levels. This creates problems in the body with regards to hormone production.
3. Lack of haemoglobin
Red meat has always been a major source of haemoglobin. Unfortunately, there are far less sources of haemoglobin available for the vegans. Most of the plant-based foods consumed by vegans have iron that lack haemoglobin. This type of iron is not absorbed by the body that readily. The vegetarian as well as vegan diets can lead to the condition of anaemia. It can lead to weakness and fatigue.
For this reason, doctors often tell vegans to have iron supplements in their daily diet. By using these supplements, the iron deficiency in the body can be reversed. Some vegans resist the consumption of these supplements owing to their side effects. Women who are at their child-bearing age are advised by doctors to turn non-vegetarian to prevent anaemia.
4. Reduction in Omega3 fatty acid
Fish and fish oils contain omega3 fatty acid in good quantities. An increased amount of omega3 fatty acid can be unhealthy for a human body. On the other hand if the amount of the same is decreased significantly, it can have adverse effects. Decreased levels of omega3 fatty acid can lead to depression. Vegan meals don’t even contain fish oil.
It, therefore, becomes important for them to consume omega3 fatty acid supplements. Omega3 fatty acid reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also reduces the risk of blood clots and maintains normal consistency in blood. There’s no vegan food substitute that can compensate fully for the absence of fish in their diet.
5. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Animal foods are the only source of vitamin B12. Vegans are at a higher risk, therefore, of the deficiency in this vitamin. This can lead to some irreversible effects on the body. They are, therefore, advised by the doctors to consume vitamin B12 supplements to prevent certain health conditions.
They include fatigue, anemia, constipation, weakness, and loss of appetite. Those suffering from a genetic condition called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency are at a greater risk. This condition affects the absorption process of vitamin B. It also doesn’t allow the absorption of vitamin B12 into the body.
It becomes difficult, therefore, for the body to fill that deficiency even by using supplements. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to some serious health conditions. It affects the neurological system of the body, which eventually leads to dementia.
6. Inhibition of zinc absorption
It is also hard for vegans to obtain zinc for the body just like vitamin B12. The vegan food that contain zinc are legumes, seeds, and nuts. Plant-based food products also contain phytic acid, which inhibits zinc absorption. Phytic acid is one of those anti-nutrients that damage the small intestine’s lining.
7. Too much carbohydrate
Vegan meals not only contain anti-nutrient properties but also lack the required quantities of protein. It has been reported that people who are vegans need to increase their intake of carbohydrates. According to the suggestions, the diets of vegans don’t have many options in this regard.
Thus they need to include carbohydrates in their diet to reach a certain level of satiety. Carbohydrates are present in certain vegan foods, such as legumes. So, the vegans end up consuming carbohydrates in more quantities, which creates imbalance in body’s metabolism.
This can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver and deregulation of blood sugar. It is, therefore, extremely important to have a balanced diet with ever macro-nutrient in the right amount. Unfortunately, the vegan diets fail to make this happen.