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The Vegan Diet Explained: Pros AND Cons Exposed!

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The vegan diet, or veganism, is more popular today than ever. What started out all about animal welfare continues today as a health driven movement. But is veganism really all that healthy? Are there any cons to going vegan? In this article cover the pros AND cons of eating vegan.

In the past, veganism has been associated with a relatively small group of people, about 6% of our population, who avoid all animal products for ethical reasons. Today an additional 13% of consumers associate vegan products with cleaner ingredients, and 12% more associate veganism with weight loss. Add it all together and you have a growing number of people buying vegan products and adopting the vegan diet for many different reasons. There’s even vegan bodybuilders and athletes promoting veganism.

So what exactly is the vegan diet? Veganism is a strict form of vegetarianism where no food that comes an animal or insect is consumed. This includes milk butter cream eggs and even honey. Eating a vegan diet is not automatically a healthy diet. Beer and French fries are vegan, but not necessarily healthy. Let’s take a look at the top 3 pros AND cons of the vegan diet:

1. Potential health benefits. When done correctly the vegan diet has been associated with decreased risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Not all of the health benefits of the vegan diet have been proven, but nobody argues that going vegan encourages you to eat more fruits and vegetables, and and other nutrient dense foods that are proven to boost your health.

2. Possible weight loss. Going vegan doesn’t automatically make you lose weight, but the vegan diet does automatically eliminate many foods that are high in fat and calories. Replacing animal foods with lower calorie plant based foods has been shown to be effective for weight loss. It’s important to note that eating too many processed or high fat vegan foods can lead to weight gain, so again weight loss is not automatic with the vegan diet.

3. Purposeful eating, meaning we pay more attention to what we’re eating instead of eating on autopilot. Eating vegan requires you to be more selective and conscious about your food choices. It requires more planning, which can serve to cut down on impulsive eating.

Even though going vegan *can* be healthier and promote weight loss, it’s not free from drawbacks.

1. The vegan diet is very restrictive. Going vegan is a huge change for most people. Remember, not only are animal products eliminated, but any food that contains any animal by-product, such as gelatin, some food coloring, and other obscure ingredients. Many traditional recipes, groceries and restaurant foods contain at least one animal ingredient that disqualifies it from being vegan. For many people that level of restriction is too severe.


2. The vegan diet may come up lacking on protein and other nutrients, such as iron, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and calcium. These nutritional deficiencies can be addressed with specific foods known to contain them, or nutritional supplements. Thankfully today more vegan products are fortified with these essential nutrients. And it’s crucial to eat a variety of protein sources to make sure you’re getting all the essential amino acids needed.

3. The vegan diet can lead to lower levels of testosterone in men. Low testosterone levels can cause depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and loss of muscle mass. The reason for this is largely due to not getting enough fat on the vegan diet. Most of the fats that are eaten on the vegan diet are poly unsaturated fatty acids, which are known to be suppressors of thyroid hormone and testosterone production. And if that weren’t enough the phytoestrogens found in soy products are known to be unfavorable toward testosterone production as well. The fix? A vegan should cut down on poly unsaturated fats and eat enough saturated fatty acids, such as coconut oil, olive oil or palm oil.

What does the Bible say about veganism? Interestingly, in Genesis God provided Adam and Eve a vegan diet in the beginning! Some Christians interpret that to mean that since veganism was part of God’s pre-fallen order, then veganism is a necessary part of a redeemed and sanctified life.

Of course after the flood, the vegan program was changed to an omnivore diet. Later the Levitical law made distinctions between clean foods and unclean. And the promised-land was a land flowing with milk and honey. Fast forward to the New Testament, Jesus Himself declared all foods clean, you can find that in Mark 7:19. In Romans 14 verses 2-6 Paul confirms the idea of liberty in food choices.

So Biblically you can make a case for veganism, but not a strong case in my opinion. And if you’ve heard any of my other diet videos, you know I’m not a fan of cutting out entire food groups, unless it’s to address a specific medical issue.

Over all I give the vegan diet a C+. At the end of the day I recommend a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of protein spread throughout the day. To lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, and if you’re not overweight, to gain muscle you need to be in a slight calorie surplus. I can’t overstate the importance of tracking your nutritional intake.  I'd like to give you a gift: it’s my calorie-calculator-combo, a free resource that comes with an online calorie calculator that tells you how many calories you need to eat each day to either lose fat, or build muscle, depending on your goals. It also comes with the top 5 calorie counting apps, so you can start tracking your food intake and make sure you’re eating right for your goals. And it comes with the Glycemic Index Food Guide, with nutritional recommendations and meal planning ideas to help you make healthy food choices. So if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, you can get all three free resources by visiting the link below.

Okay that’s it for this week’s article. Thanks for joining me. Don’t forget to pick up my calorie calculator combo, the ultimate free tools to help you succeed on your fitness journey, just visit the link below. That’s all for now, God bless you, and I’ll see you next time.

Free Calorie Calculator Combo: https://www.spiritandmuscle.com/calories

 


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