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Vegan Diet

What Is the Vegan Diet?

The vegan diet is a kind of diet that people use more plant-based foods than animal sources and proteins. It has a wide variety of types of vegetarians and vegans, that we will discuss their differences in this article.

Why People Choose to Start a Vegan Diet?

There is a lot of reason that people go on a vegan diet and choose veganism. Philosophic, ecologic, environmental concerns, religion, or the aim of changing the lifestyle to have a healthier body is the approach that people may consider. Many people around the world concern about animal beings, and they believe that humans are harming their lives due to their profits. Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, cruelty to, animals for food or clothing or any other purposes. They are preferably using plant-based products and foods than animal sources. They say that they are vegan to support animals, water, world hunger, rainforests, compassion, wildlife, health, peace, and totally the planet. Religious reasons are another way of tending to be vegan or vegetarian. Religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Rastafarianism, etc., suggest their followers eat more vegan foods.

Is Vegan Diet Healthy?

According to the American Dietetic Association, a planned vegetarian diet includes vegan diets that are healthful, nutritious, adequate. It may provide health profit and benefits to prevent certain diseases such as heart and cardiovascular disease. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all durations of life, such as childhood and infancy, pregnancy, breastfeeding, athletes, adolescents, and older people.
So don't worry about your health if a certified dietitian plans your vegan diet.

Benefits of the Vegan Diet

The latest meta-analysis of all the best case-control studies concludes that too much milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer.
Reducing the ratio of animal to plant protein in men's diets may slow down prostate cancer progression.
A 2015 meta-analysis found that high intakes of dairy products such as milk, low-fat milk, cheese, etc. apparat to increase total prostate cancer risk.
High cholesterol in the blood can lead to excess cholesterol in the brain, which may help to trigger the clumping of amyloid seen in Alzheimer's brains.
Eating a plant-based diet can lower heart disease risk and avoid plaque buildup in the blood vessels.
Human infants with evidence of higher baseline levels of ovine casomorphins in their bloodstream seem more likely to suffer from the psychomotor delay that is a measure of muscle, language, and mental function development.
Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists indicates that the vegan diet helps lower rates of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.

What Is the Difference Between Vegan Diet and Vegetarian Diet?

A vegetarian diet has been for a long time, but vegan diets are recent. Vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat any sort of meat, but vegan is one type of vegetarians that doesn't eat any kind of animal foods.

Who Are Flexitarians and Do They Use a Vegan Diet?

People who are part-time vegetarians. They may follow the vegetarian diet plans for a short time and then go back to the normal diets. It is also semi-vegetarian because it is not completely a strict vegetarian diet. They adhere to a vegetarian diet with the aim of good health. They don't follow a specific ideology and may accept meat meals occasionally.

What Are the Types of Vegetarians?


Many of those who call themselves vegetarians only refuse to use red meat and eat fish, poultry, and dairy foods.


They do not eat meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, but they consume milk, cheese, and dairy products.


They do not use any kind of animal products except eggs.

Lacto-Ovo vegetarian

Their eating pattern is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products, and eggs.


It is a vegetarian diet that includes fish. They do not eat any kind of meat, but they have fish and other seafood in their diet plans. Many of the pescatarians also eat dairy products and eggs.


They avoid anything related to animals and do not eat any food of animal origin. The vegan diet is the only vegetarian diet with any real risk of providing inadequate nutrition. Still, the risks can be avoided by planning a specialized and careful diet that provides all of the adequate nutrients.

Dietary vegans or plant-based eaters

They refuse to eat animal products and avoid them in their diet, but they use other products like clothing and cosmetics in their life.

Whole food vegans

In this type of vegetarian diet they only eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and seeds.

Junk food vegans

They use processed vegan food like Vegan burgers, vegan cheeses, frozen dinners, fries, vegan meats, vegan cut meats, Quorn, and desserts.


They only use low-fat and raw foods. They limit high-fat food intake like avocadoes, nuts, coconuts.

Raw food vegans

They eat only the raw foods, or they are cooked under 118°F (48°C)

Are Vegan Diets and Vegetarian Diets the Same in Terms Of Deficiencies?

They tend to be lower in iron than omnivorous diets.
Vegetarians who don't consume dairy products may have low calcium intake and vitamin D for people in northern latitudes due to the sunshine's lack of exposure.
Phytate and oxalate in grains, fruits, and vegetables disrupt the absorption of calcium.
Long- term vegans may develop megaloblastic anemia. This anemia is related to the deficiency of vitamin B12. B12 is a vitamin that is found only in animal origin foods. A high level of folate in vegan diet patterns may mask the neurologic damage of lack of vitamin B12. Fortified cereals and fortified soy beverages can be a good source for modifying the diet. Supplementation is another approach for vegans with deficiencies.
Most vegetarians meet or exceed the requirements for protein; their diets tend to be low in protein. The low protein intake leads to lower saturated fat intake.
Vegetarians should pay attention to get adequate calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and D.

Vegan Diet and Weight Loss

Switch to a vegan diet can be an easy and helpful way to lose weight. The calorie intake is lower, and it will be better to feel full.
The body mass index (BMI) is lower in people who follow the vegan diet than the others. A vegan diet can have a considerable effect on weight loss. Not only a green diet can help lowering weight, but also a healthy lifestyle, which includes more attention to health and more physical activity, are the factors that vegans use.
The plant-based vegan diets include more fibers, which help vegans feel full and have low motivation for eating. Higher dietary intake of fibers will decrease the calorie intake in comparison to general and usual diets.
Age, height, body weight, ideal body weight, diet, physical activity, medications, metabolic health, etc., are the factors that may affect weight and weight loss. Controlling the diet and exercise with a vegan diet and vegan lifestyle can be the lights to guide you to get to a proper and ideal weight.

Plant-based desserts and foods are containing more sugar than usual meals. For example, a plant-based sausage may contain 260 calories per 100 grams, but organic grass-fed beef sausages have 236 calories per 100 grams. So, you have to pay attention to the food labels and choose better foods. Sugar can disturb the metabolism and make some changes in the process of weight loss. More sugar intake can lead to HTN, high blood triglycerides, and inflammation. One hundred calories or six teaspoons for women, and 150 calories or nine teaspoons of sugar is recommended to be limited.

Vegan Diet and Heart Diseases

Studies have shown that vegetarians who avoid meat and vegans have a lower risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases. LDL, total cholesterol, and high blood sugar are the risk factors for developing heart diseases. The controlled randomized studies have shown that the vegan diet can reduce these risk factors and then.

Vegan Diet and Cancer

A systematic review with a meta-analysis showed a significant reduction in BMI, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, the glucose level in vegans and vegetarians. A vegan diet's protective effect on the incidence and death from ischemic heart disease and total cancer incidence was noticeable.

Vegan Diet and Arthritis

Studies provide further evidence for the beneficial effects of Whole-food plant-based diets in many patients with osteoarthritis. Whole-food plant-based or vegan diet therapies are recommended as an adjunct to standard medical management of this debilitating chronic disease.
A vegan diet changes the fecal microbial flora in rheumatoid arthritis and its improvement. A raw vegan diet is rich in Lactobacilli bacteria. It can have a positive effect on decreased symptoms and measures of rheumatoid arthritis.

Vegan Diet and Kidneys

Pros: Using soy protein instead of animal proteins in vegan diets can reduce the development of renal diseases. Reduction in protein intake can help the kidney function in early diabetic kidney disease patients. Substitution of soy protein for animal protein decreases hyperfiltration in diabetic patients and may reduce urine albumin excretion. The soy diet reduces total and LDL cholesterol. Subsequently, the GFR decreases, and the clinical profile of the patients can be affected positively.
Eating a plant-based diet high in vegetables and whole grains instead of animal foods may help prevent and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease, type2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.
People who follow a vegan diet have low phosphorus intake.
: Although not all of the vegetables contain oxalate, high oxalate foods, dehydration, and excessive vitamin C and excess salt can cause kidney stones. So, you have to consult your dietitian and urologist to have a balanced and proper diet. There are three greens (Spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens) that concentrate oxalate, and their intake should be under control to prevent kidney stones. They have to avoid green smoothies that are a source of high oxalate intake. The concerns are more probable for patients who have an increased risk of stone maker kidneys.

Foods to Avoid in a Vegan Diet

There are some foods that you should avoid in a vegan diet, include:

♦ Beef
♦ Lamb
♦ Pork
♦ Veal
♦ Organ meat
♦ Poultry
♦ Chicken
♦ Turkey
♦ Quails
♦ Ostriches
♦ Goose

♦ Duck
♦ Milk
♦ Yogurt
♦ Butter
♦ Cream
♦ Cheese
♦ Ice-cream
♦ Eggs
♦ Honey
♦ Fish
♦ Shrimp

♦ Oyster
♦ Scallop
♦ Crab
♦ Calamari
♦ Squid
♦ Lobster
♦ Whey
♦ Casein
♦ Lactose
♦ Gelatin

Vegan Diet Foods

You can see the following categories of plant-based and the ingredients using in vegan or vegetarian diets. The vegan diet foods should make up for the lack of protein intake due to omitting the animal products with substituting them with plant-based protein sources. Avoiding meats and animal products can cause some nutrient deficiencies such as Zinc, Iron, and Vitamin B groups such as B12. Therefore, the origins and intakes have to be planned in a diet in a way to make up for the shortage of these minerals and nutrients.

Plant-based protein sources for a vegan diet:
♦ Lentil flour
♦ Pumpkin seed
♦ Peanut butter
♦ Tahini
♦ Almonds
♦ Pistachios
♦ Flaxseed
♦ Cashews
♦ Oats
♦ Soybeans

♦ Chia seeds
♦ Tofu
♦ Hazelnut
♦ Walnut Hazelnut
♦ walnut
♦ Whole wheat bread
♦ Chickpeas
♦ Red beans
♦ Lentils
♦ Lima beans

♦ Peas
♦ Quinoa
♦ Spinach
♦ Tempeh
♦ Seitan
♦ Spirulina
♦ Chlorella
♦ Spelt
♦ Teff
♦ Macadamia nuts

Plant-based omega-3 fats sources for a vegan diet:
♦ Chia
♦ Hemp
♦ Flaxseed

♦ Leafy green vegetables
♦ Microalgae
♦ Soybeans

♦ Soy foods
♦ Walnuts
♦ Wheat germ

Plant-based Iodine sources for a vegan diet:
♦ Sea vegetables
♦ Wakame

♦ Arame
♦ Iodized salt

♦ Nori
♦ Dulse

Supplements needed for a vegan diet:
♦ Vitamin D

♦ Iron
♦ Iodine
♦ Calcium

♦ Zinc
♦ VitaminB12 (2500 microgram per week)

* Most of the vegan products are fortified with these nutrients to prevent deficiencies, but there are also food bases to provide them and are good choices to be added to the vegan diet.

Plant-based Calcium sources for a vegan diet:
♦ Soy milk
♦ Tofu
♦ Soybeans
♦ White bean
♦ Spinach
♦ Tahini
♦ Edamame
♦ Chickpeas

♦ Chia seeds
♦ Hemp
♦ Orange
♦ Adzuki beans
♦ Broccoli
♦ Okra
♦ Snap beans
♦ Fig

♦ Sweet potato
♦ Parsley
♦ Carrot
♦ Pumpkin
♦ Cabbage
♦ Almonds
♦ Quinoa
♦ Tomato

Plant-based Iron sources for a vegan diet:
♦ Soy
♦ White beans
♦ Green lentils
♦ Tofu
♦ Dried fruit
♦ Amaranth
♦ Chickpeas
♦ Edamame
♦ Mung beans
♦ Peas

♦ Peanuts
♦ Mushrooms
♦ Quinoa
♦ Spinach
♦ Beetroot
♦ Whole wheat bread
♦ Pumpkin
♦ Tahini
♦ Parsley
♦ Chia seeds

♦ Sesame seed
♦ Kale
♦ Goji berries
♦ Dark chocolate
♦ Potato
♦ Red bell pepper
♦ Sunflower seeds
♦ Orange
♦ Dulse
♦ Nori

Plant-based sources of Magnesium for a vegan diet:
♦ Cashews
♦ Bananas
♦ Oats

♦ Cocoa
♦ Kelp
♦ Sweet potato

♦ Coffee
♦ Beans
♦ Cashews

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