Nutrition

Are vegan and vegetarian diets the best way to eat?

Are vegan and vegetarian diets the best way to eat? | legion

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Evidence-based

There is no denying that plant-based foods are essential for maintaining optimal health and performance.

A great body of proof shows that people who eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are generally healthier and more likely to live longer, disease-free lives than those who don't eat enough of them.

Of course there is crazy adversaries who claim that plant-based foods (especially carbohydrates) actually cause weight gain, leaky gut, global warming, inflation and racism, but these people are (thankfully) rejected by many.

However, some plant-based proponents swing to the other extreme, postulating that vegan and vegetarian diets are clearly superior to that of omnivores. But is that really true? Is it really necessary to avoid meat or animal products in order to optimize your health, or is it enough to simply eat a lot of plant-based food?

Read on to find out the answer.

The benefits of the plant-based diet

Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals, but they also contain other types of phytonutrients that are beneficial to health in a number of ways.

Two good examples of this are Sulforaphane and Anthocyanins, Phytonutrients found primarily in broccoli and blueberries that are known to reduce Cancer risk, cellular wear and tear, and Cholesterol levels, but are not found on food labels that only list vital nutrients. Many of these additional nutrients are also not found in multivitamins or other dietary supplements, so pills and powders cannot replace the real McCoy.

fiber is another (often overlooked) plant-based food ingredient that deserves attention. Fiber is indigestible carbohydrates found in many types of foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains.

Its importance has long been known – the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who famously said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine your food," recommended whole grain breads to improve bowel movements – and modern scientific advice research has confirmed that consuming enough fiber increases your chances of living a long and healthy life.

The problem of the purely plant-based diet

While a healthy diet necessarily includes a wide variety of plants and vegetables, from dark leafy greens to garlic to cruciferous vegetables and cereal grains and more, that doesn't mean that one is eating only These foods are ideal and especially when you are trying yours Body composition.

For example, building muscle is more difficult as a vegan or vegetarian because it is difficult to get enough good quality, well-absorbed protein. That partly explains why Studies have shown that omnivores tend to have more muscle than vegetarians and vegans.

You can get around this problem by carefully choosing certain plant-based foods that are high in suitable proteins (such as: peas, Beans, and nuts), but even then, you likely need to eat or include quite a few of these foods additions in your regimen to meet your daily protein needs.

Studies demonstrate that certain micronutrient deficiencies are more also more common in vegans than omnivores, including vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium, and others. You can alleviate this problem by eating a variety of different micronutrient-rich foods, but to fill any gaps, you'll also need to supplement strategically.

However, there is another (and arguably better) way to get enough premium protein and essential nutrients: Simply include animal-based foods in your diet, especially red meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs.

Some call this a "flexitarian diet". I just call it a "healthy" diet.

However, that is controversial advice these days. Take red meat, for example, which many plant-based apostles compare to cigarettes. Just a serving or two of red meat a day is said to be enough to significantly affect your health and wellbeing.

A cursory review of the scientific evidence does not provide much insight. Some studies seem to show that red meat is indeed bad for you, others suggest it is benign, and others show that it is actually good for you.

A book of its own would be required to unravel the matter, however the long and the short is twofold:

  1. The argument against eating red meat is based on evidence showing a link between red meat (especially processed red meat) and cancer and heart disease. However, it is worth noting that many of this research is based on relatively inferior studies of sedentary, often overweight people following a standard Western diet of highly processed foods. Hence, it's hard to say how consuming red meat or even processed red meat would affect active, lean, and healthy people who also eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  2. The highest quality studies available on red meat consumption show that it is not unhealthy and that reducing red meat consumption has no significant benefit. In addition, meat is also a great source of proteins and nutrients that are hard to come by on a vegetarian and vegan diet, such as iron, zinc, and creatine.

Dairy products and eggs are two other animal foods that are often wrongly labeled as unhealthy. Despite claims to the contrary Studies demonstrate the milk does not cause weight gain or cancer, does not degenerate your bones, and does not contain unhealthy amounts of hormones, pus, or blood. research Even shows that eggs don't raise cholesterol or increase your risk of heart disease.

So while you can get and stay fit, lean, strong and healthy with a vegan or vegetarian dietIt's easier to screw up than with a well-designed omnivore.

Going vegan or vegetarian for religious or ethical reasons is a different matter, but it's hard to argue that cutting out meat or animal products is the healthiest way to eat.

A better choice is a plant-based diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, as well as a variety of nutritious (and protein-rich) animal products such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

+ Scientific references

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Mike Matthews

Mike Matthews is the founder and CEO of Legion and is the bestselling fitness author of several books including Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef.

His simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy has sold over a million books and helped thousands of people build their best bodies, and his work has been featured in many popular outlets including Esquire, Men & # 39; s Health, Elle, Women & # 39; s Health, Muscle & Strength and more, as well as on FOX and ABC.

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