Food and diet habits are one’s personal choice.
One may prefer a vegan food diet, some others may like a raw food diet, and others may follow food diets from both animals and plant world.
Sadly and unfortunately, millions of people in poverty-stricken regions of the globe do not even have sufficient food to eat either.
The vast majority of the people, in general, do not have any rigid diet habits; they just eat any good and tasty food that is available to them.
Each food diet group has its claims to make on the qualities and benefits of the dietary habits that they follow and propagate it.
It is also true what is good for one may be bad for another.
But as per the scientific studies on human diet and nutrition, it is important that we include healthy food from both plants and animal kingdom.
The PETA community (you may be a member of this group) strongly condemns the cruelty to animals and does not approve of eating the meat of animals or fish.
I do personally agree that cruelty to animals should be avoided….but in the evolution process of the universe, human beings are designed to be omnivores.
When you avoid the ‘animal food’, it will certainly cause some ramifications for your health as our body also requires some of the essential vitamins that are naturally found only in food from animals. All-inclusive food is best for good health.
If you are a staunch follower of vegan food diet or raw food diets…you just continue with what makes you most happy and contented in mind and body.
As for me, it is important to be an omnivore for good health reasons based on the history of human beings and the modern health sciences.
In this article, I am just bringing home to you some of the reasons vegan and raw vegan food diets are not entirely healthy and complete.
Difference Between Vegan And Raw Vegan Food Diets
The vegans eat only the foods exclusively sourced from the plants. This diet contains only vegetables, nuts, fruits, grains, and tuber foods.
Pure vegetarians do not eat any food that comes from animals… not even dairy products and eggs.
The raw veganism is an extreme diet habit that combines veganism with raw food diet habits. They will not eat even the vegetarian food that is cooked above 480C (1180F). The raw vegans are happy to survive only on raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, nut pastes, legume sprouts, plant oils, seaweeds, fresh juice, and herbs.
Reasons That Make Vegan And Raw Vegan Food Diet Unhealthy
There had been a lot of arguments and counter-arguments on a vegan diet and raw food diet. Every exclusive type of diet plan has some drawbacks that are unhealthy in the long run.
One of the best known ‘raw vegan food diet’ propagators is Kristen of ‘Kristen’s Raw’ blog. After years of being a vegan, she confessed that all is not well with a totally vegan diet as it has taken a toll on her health.
She couldn’t admit it herself for long as her beliefs in a vegan diet had taken deep roots in her. She carried on as a vegan by constantly reaffirming by her full-time immersion in the understandably self-reinforcing vegan culture.
Kristen always thought that some of her fellow vegans who complained of a lack of libido, lack of iron, lack of energy, etc. because they were not doing it right….but actually, Kristen was only lucky that it took more years for her to experience the same health issues as others did much earlier.
Currently, she is back to an omnivore diet again.
All is not well with vegan diets and raw veganism which look so glossy and noble….and several vegans themselves have realized the shortcomings of this vegan diet plan.
There are more reasons to say that food vegan diets are incomplete in themselves.
Vegan Diets Are Way Of Life Mostly Chosen Out Of Compulsion Or Religious Taboo
Many of the vegans choose raw vegan diet or veganism because certain animal foods were causing weaker digestive function or other physical discomforts like a food allergy or constipation.
I know a number of people who have become vegans because they have a weak digestive system that does not digest the meat and dairy products properly.
Some of them are vegans because their parents were that way or their religious and social-cultural reasons did not permit non-vegetarian foods. Just, for example, most of the Brahmin Hindus, Jain and Buddhist religious groups in India and Southeast Asian regions consider eating meat as a sin and religious offense.
There are also many who develop a natural psychological aversion to meat and animal foods for some reasons unknown.
The omnivore’s characteristics of human beings are natural, but vegans forcefully deny the natural biological system for many personal reasons.
Vegan Food Diets Are Proved To Be Disadvantageous In The Long Run
Normally the human body has a great ability to adapt and survive…people who take vegan diets don’t feel any weakness in the initial stages, but later on, the body will not be able to withstand the shortage of few essential nutrients and proteins mostly found in the animal fats.
Very common health issues most vegans are going to face is the lack of fat-soluble nutrients like K2, retinol, etc. (if no supplements are used to compensate the same).
In the initial stages, the body uses the nutrients from the fats storage, but when those stocks are over, lack of nutrients supply gives rise to hormonal imbalance, hyperthyroidism and toxic oxidation of the cells.
You will come across a lot of vegans who boast of the health benefits they are getting from their newly discovered vegan food diets.
But these success stories do not have any scientific backing and the ramifications of those diets will prop up only at much later time…it may even take a few years.
There is no doubt that vegan diets are healthy with less cholesterol…but at a later stage; they will have to start taking a few essential nutrients’ supplements to carry on with the vegan diet.
Some of the best principles in vegan diets I like most are the insistence on giving up refined carbohydrates, soda, and carbonated sweetened drinks, added sugar, trans-fats, and processed vegetable oils.
Probably these food restrictions in veganism are apparently helping in improving the health of the vegans.
But these suggestions are followed not only in veganism but also in all good diet plans.
The required nutrients and vitamins supply for the body is completed only when along with the vegan diets required amount of animal foods like whole eggs, fish oil, fatty acids are also consumed.
The Vegans Seriously Lack Many Essential Nutrients
From the pre-historic evolution periods, human beings have progressed to a current state of life as omnivores.
Our body requires certain vitamins found only in the plants and others found only in the foods sourced from animals.
Let us look at some of the examples of Vitamins that found only in non-vegetarian diets.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin required for the function of every body cell. This can be naturally got only from the foods sourced from animals.
One of the studies conducted on vegan discovered that 92% of the participants suffered from a lack of Vitamin B12.
Again, the essential amino acids in the right amount are found in the animal protein. That is why we usually find that meat eaters normally have better muscle mass and stronger bone health. The vegans and raw vegan food enthusiasts can certainly suffer the lack of essential amino acids.[6,7,8,9]
The omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in the fish which is the best source for Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). The body is not able to convert the Omega-3 fatty acids in the plant sources into DHA. I hope the vegans are listening to this fact.[14,15]
Protein Deficiency Is Quite Common Among Vegan Food Diet Enthusiasts
The proteins got from animal foods and pants sources have a lot of differences in quality. Some of the lab tests and researches have shown that protein from plant sources is 15 times lower grade in quality than the best type of protein got from meat, eggs and dairy products.[19,20,21]
The vegans may have a lot of protein-rich foods like beans and nuts, but for their poor quality of protein, the liver does not sufficiently respond to the thyroids.
The liver’s ability to detoxify the body largely depends on the quality of the protein that the body receives.
An alternative option for the vegans is to adapt protein dietary supplements like edamame, tofu, soy protein powder, etc. However, these supplements that contain soy protein is difficult to digest and suppresses thyroid and estrogenic due to phytoestrogens in it.[27,28,29]
Most of the plant source protein diet staples have phytic acid that hinders the assimilation of nutrients.
Vegans usually consume a lot of nuts especially to meet the protein requirements of the body. The nut is slow to break down especially persons with low digestive acids and enzymes. The nuts also contain a good bit of polyunsaturated fats that contain enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid which block the absorption of minerals.
Humans Are Evolved As Omnivores From The Beginning
Looking back to the progress in human evolution is a good way to understand the health of human beings.
The good foods that sustained man throughout the centuries mostly consisted of a healthy mixture of plant and animal foods. For millions of years, humans have been habituated to eating meat.
If we were vegetarians by nature’s design, it would not have been possible for the human body to digest the meat and absorb the nutrients and vitamins from them.
Everyone agrees that processed meat is bad. It is also unhealthy to have an animal food product from “factory farming’ where animals are given antibiotics and growth hormones to grow faster and produce more meat, milk, or eggs.
Meat and milk from animals that are reared in the natural environment and have natural foods are most suitable for our body.
Meat does not cause cancer as it is wrongly understood by many. Health risks from the meat have a lot to do with the way it is cooked. Deep frying and burning meat is not ideal for good health.[33,34]
For a healthy body, we certainly require fish, meat, dairy products, and eggs along with a verity of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
Only if your body is not tolerant of animal foods, they should be avoided. In the case of being a total vegetarian, you need to have good supplements to get those high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals found mostly in animal foods only.
There Are No Scientific Studies That Support The Credibility Of Vegan Diet
The vegan diet and raw food diet propagators do not have any extensive proven studies to back their claim.
Let there be few controlled trials to show that the food vegan diet is superior to a wholesome diet that includes both vegan foods and animal foods.
The modern health science is teaching us that the low-carb and moderately fat diets are healthier than high carbohydrate diets that the vegans usually have.
It is found that the Atkin diet which has low-carb and high-fat content is superior to the Ornish diet that is mostly vegan. The Ornish diet failed to improve all health markers as much as the Atkins diet did.
There are some observational studies that claim the vegan diets are less prone to produce diseases and premature mortality. But those studies cannot be taken for granted as they are based on mere correlation than causation.[39,40]
Something I like most in all vegetarians is the high health-conscious attitude they have in common. It is probably born out of an inner feeling that they need to be more cautious towards health as they do not eat animal foods.
It is true that vegan diets have a slightly positive edge over the rest as regards the health of the heart….but what about a weaker body and imbalanced hormones.
Lack of controlled trials and studies to support the claims of vegans and raw vegan diet supporters are serious drawbacks to their diet idea.
The Bottom Line
You will find a lot of vegan food supporters who proclaim the virtues of an all-vegan diet.
I am sure nobody can underestimate the vegetables for the natural vitamins and nutrients found in them.
But what I dislike in most vegan supports is the bad things they speak about eggs, meats, and fish….in some extreme cases, some of them try to create fear and anxiety in the minds of the people by falsifying the dangers of eating non-vegetarian diets.
But they forget the fact that 70% of the world population consists of non-vegetarians who are equally or more physically fit than the vegans.
Disease and mortality are part of human life regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
I know a number of people who got inspired by “The China Study” book series on veganism….they took up the vegan diets….but soon returned to the non-vegetarian diets again.
NO scientific studies that prove the human metabolism and health parameters are exclusively designed for a vegan diet plan.
The new studies that are countering the precepts of veganism in “The China Studies” say that meat-eating human beings experience a lower risk of heart diseases and cancer.
My argument in favor of including animal food in your diet is based on scientific reasons. I am not promoting animal cruelty or trying to offend the vegans here.
The plain truth is that vegan diets have advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages of the vegan diet can be mitigated by including a healthy amount of fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products in your diet.
If you are enjoying the best health with exclusive plant foods….go ahead and carry on with the same. Enjoy good health!
But the non-vegetarians with healthy eating habits too are enjoying great health.
Food For Thought On ‘Vegetarian Myth.’
As a conclusion to this article, I would like to bring to you a popular video that explains the merits and demerits of vegan diets.