A vegan diet – a diet that is plant based and has no contribution from animal sources (meat, eggs, fish, butter, milk, cheese etc).
This documentary “Game Changers”, predominantly focused on vegan elite athletes and how this has impacted there performance. The documentary also touched on global warming and other benefits from a plant based diet.
There seems to be overwhelming evidence that eating a plant based diet is optimal for health and well-being. Including evidence that shows a rapid noticeable, beneficial, functional change in the body.
This is interesting. Lets look at the facts.
Our bodies require macro and micro nutrients to function and prevent disease.
These nutrients are ESSENTIAL, meaning that our bodies cannot make these compounds and they must be consumed in our diets.
There is many ways in which we can consume these nutrients. As i have touched on before a diet that ensures all nutrients are met is one that is mostly fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates with a smaller contribution from meat, eggs, fish, dairy and oils.
This is the widely accepted view.
The evidence for this:
- the majority of our nutrients comes from vegetables, fruits and starchy carbohydrates (wholewheat)
- however there are some nutrients that are harder to absorb when coming from a plant source
- therefore we recommend that meat, dairy and eggs should be consumed to provide sufficient vitamins and minerals.
An example, there are 2 forms of IRON.
- Haem iron – animal products
- non haem iron – plant products
Haem iron is easily digested by the body as it is bio-available.
Non haem iron is not bio-available and is more complicated to digest. The body must convert this iron into haem iron first in order to adsorb it. Vitamin C also helps greatly with the absorption of iron as it increases the acidity of the stomach which is needed for absorption.
Much more difficult right? Much more than haem iron anyway.
But, this doesn’t mean that plant sources of iron are insufficient. It just means its more complicated.
Studies have also found that haem iron can be dangerous to the body and greatly increase the risks of heart disease.
There can also be issues with vitamin D, vitamin B12, omega 3, calcium and amino acid deficiencies when consuming a vegan diet.
- mainly from sunlight
- can be found in food (not bio-available)
- predominately from fish
- only found in animal products
- mainly found in fish
- plant sources available
- most bio-available source = milk, cheese etc
- found in plants
Amino Acids (protein)
- there are 20 amino acids
- 9 are essential – must be consumed
- animal sources are complete – containing all 9 essential amino acids
- you need to eat many different types of plant protein to ensure all essential amino acids are being met
These nutrients can all be found in plant sources however (excluding vitamin B12) and these sources aren’t necessarily insufficient or not as nutritious.
The documentary outlined an overwhelming amount of benefits and evidence that suggests a plant based, vegan diet was optimal for performance, health and curing disease!
We cannot ignore this phenomenon.
However, the documentary and in general people supporting veganism don’t play a large importance on the severity and increased risk of deficiency when the diet is taken lightly.
These nutrients are ESSENTIAL and must be consumed or serious health implications can come from deficiency of important nutrients.
So, veganism is an incredibly interesting field and new knowledge that i would love to explore. It could be the route to our health decline!
However, if you want to become vegan or try a vegan diet i urge you to consider and research the correct way to do it and to take into account that you have to be incredibly aware of what you are consuming and the nutrients these products withhold.
As an experiment. I will be eating a vegan diet for 7 days and i will document the experience and see if i notice any positive changes.
We cannot turn down the evidence and the possibility that it could be beneficial.
If you haven’t seen the documentary, it is on Netflix or the website is below.
Thank you for reading, stay tuned for next week.
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