I have asked this question to myself so many times when thinking about making healthier choices. I sit there eating a burger and I start to regret the fact that I bought the burger. That’s why going vegan seemed to be the ideal choice. My assumption is that they eat vegetables all the time and salads and are overall healthy. That is only just an assumption at the end of the day. This is what fueled my interest in researching the topic further.
Now, my reasons for considering being vegan are more from a health standpoint. Other vegans have chosen that lifestyle for ethical reasons such as not wanting to harm animals or just overall preservation of the world. These are all justified reasons for choosing this specific lifestyle but, is this way of life healthy? When I say healthy, I mean is being vegan even good for you?
According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegan diets are usually higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, and iron. These are all vital to the human bodies health and benefit you in the long run. Not only does a vegan diet provide you with better health, but it also reduces your risk of getting certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Heart disease is caused, from what I am aware of, high cholesterol and generally having an unhealthy diet. Vegans, being thinner and not consuming as much food with cholesterol, reduces their risk of getting heart disease. Also, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that vegans generally consume more fruits and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables have more folic acid, fiber, and antioxidants that also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Knowing this information, you would think that there are no downfalls to being vegan, right? Wrong.
I’ve had friends attempt to be vegans. They had no clue where to start. They did no research on what a healthy vegan diet consists of. I saw them start to become weaker and look not healthy. This seems to be a common problem. Being vegan can be beneficial, but you have to know what you are getting yourself into. First off, this article states that a certain fatty acid called n-3 polyunsaturated fat is necessary for normal body function. This fat is usually food in fish and eggs. Vegans would need access to supplements of this fat to be able to get the correct amount that they need. What I have noticed is that vegans lack certain vitamins and nutrients that meat eaters usually get from their daily food. Since vegans can’t eat meat or any animal products, they have to result to supplements and vitamins that may not be as beneficial as the real thing. There was a study done called the EPIC Oxford Study. In this they saw that vegans and vegetarians had a very low vitamin D deficiency. This was from not consuming certain food products that provide them with vitamin D. Also, it was seen that people with less exposure to sun that were vegan faced even more of a deficiency in vitamin D. Vitamin D is beneficial because of it’s role it plays in maintaining calcium in the body. One more issue I have personally seen is the lack of iron vegans and vegetarians have. Due to this lack of iron, they can become anemic. Knowing all this about vegans, would you still say that it is a healthy lifestyle?
I would say being vegan is a healthy lifestyle if you do it correctly! My null hypothesis going into my research was that being vegan was healthy for you and there was nothing wrong with the lifestyle. My alternative hypothesis was that being vegans is still good for you but there can be some health drawbacks that can cause you to be unhealthy. I accepted my alternative hypothesis because as I did my research, I found that there were definite drawbacks to being a vegan. Although, these drawbacks are easily avoidable. If you have access to the correct supplements and materials you need to maintain your body, then you should be fine going vegan.