Vegan Diets: Healthy or Harmful?

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People choose a vegetarian lifestyle for many reasons. Health, environment, culture, religion and ethics are all factors that play into the decision to not eat meat. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products (Vegetarian Resource Group). As veganism becomes more popular as a lifestyle and as a means of weight loss there has become a great amount of debate as to whether or not this type of diet is considered healthy or harmful because it has the potential to lack important vitamins, minerals and of course protein. The vegan diet can be a very healthy way of life. There have been some research studies that have shown vegans are significantly lower in weight, they have lower blood pressure and lower levels of cholesterol than normal vegetarians and meat eaters. These health benefits are apparent because vegans consume more dietary fiber, about two to three times more than their meat-eating counter parts, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol, blood glucose levels and protect against colon cancer. Their diets are higher in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E and the health-promoting phytochemicals which have all been proven to reduce the risk for heat disease, arthritis, prostate and other cancers, and may improve bone health (Vegetarian Diet). Vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers because they consume such high levels of plant foods (Vegan Diets: The Pros and Cons). Whatever the reasoning becoming vegan can be a very healthy way of life. ... ... middle of paper ... ...ing properly from all the vegan friendly food groups to ensure there are no deficiencies in protein, vitamin B or D, calcium and iron. As long as the vegan diet includes all of these necessary items than it is a completely healthy diet and way of life, the options for the vegetarian eater have become much more plentiful over the last 10 or so years and therefore makes it much easier to enjoy this type of lifestyle healthfully. Resources 1. The Vegetarian Resource Group http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm 2. Vegetarian Diet (PCC Natural Markets) http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/health/1301007/ 3. Vegan Diets: The Pros and Cons (Vegetarianism & Vegetarian Nutrition) http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/vegan-diets-pros-cons.php 4. Disadvantages of Going Veg http://holistic-nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/disadvantages_of_going_veg#ixzz0chG7Gyhm
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