Research today shows an average American consumes approximately 200 pounds of meat or even more annually. Additionally, an average person residing in the U.S. consumes up to 607 pounds of dairy products including milk and cheese, with an extra 79 pounds of fat per year which is 22 pounds higher than in the 1980s.
One of the greatest challenge today is the factory-farmed animals and the mass production involved. Research has also shown that industrialized dairy production is a great source of pollution to the ecosystem raising the alarm to the climate changes.
Increased mechanized production of processed meat and dairy products has made meat and dairy cheap to acquire, shelve-stable and highly convenient making them an option for many people. Also, the flavor enhancers with added sodium and sugar make them even tastier and easily over consumed.
Benefits of Veganism
Going for a vegan diet can be one way to keep off processed meat and dairy products. Some studies have found that vegans have a reduced risk for hypertension, type2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
A report published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association also showed some benefits associated with a vegan diet such as reduced levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, increased levels of magnesium, potassium, fiber and phytochemicals, vitamin E and C which offer great antioxidant properties.
Other additional benefits reported were better gut health, less environmental impact, and weight loss.
Vegan Health Risks
However, studies are also showing an increase in some nutrient deficiencies among vegans such as:
- Protein deficiency, resulting in muscle wasting, fatigue, cognitive changes, and mood disorders.
- Carbohydrate overconsumption. Vegans tend to over-consume carbohydrates and sugars; however, there is a minority of people that have found a great balance. Too much sugar can lead to yeast infections, allergies, and even obesity, especially with refined wheat products.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency. A substantial amount of vitamin B12 can only be obtained from meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products; thus vegans need to take a supplement.
- Increased consumption of anti-nutrients found in grains, legumes, and beans such as phytic acid, inhibits the digestion of, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron. However, soaking or sprouting these grains can level down the phytic acid.
- Feeling of exhaustion and fatigue is another frequently experienced symptom among vegans and research is showing, it could be due to certain minerals and vitamins usually obtained from fish and meat such as the B vitamins.
In the long run, each person reacts differently to certain foods, and it’s paramount to pay attention to personal dietary changes depending on what’s healthy than just following what someone else is doing. Some people find it useful to go with 70% plant-based and 30% animal products( high quality such as organic pastured dairy, organic grass fed beef, free ranch eggs etc.) Key point: Be mindful of how your body feels to a given diet and make changes focusing on essential aspects like your energy levels, sleep, digestion, mental welfare, cognition, and even skin.
If you want to help clients with food, diet, weight management and improving the results of their fitness routines, the Fitness Nutrition Coach course is for you. You will learn about optimal nutrition, including proven techniques for increasing energy, optimal health and decreased dependence on medications. Instantly increase your job and career opportunities with this popular professional credential.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.