A first benefit of the vegan diet: you could lose weight
People on a vegan diet feel more satisfied after a meal because they consume food stuffed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. A study recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reviewed 12 studies that compared people who followed a vegetarian diet to people who did not submit to a diet of this type. The results show that vegetarians weigh on average two pounds less than non-vegetarians.
According to another study, women who eat more fruits and vegetables are 28% less likely to gain weight than women who eat less. “Veganers pay more attention to what they eat,” Vandana Sheth adds. And this attitude seems to stimulate weight loss. ”
In short: what is the vegan diet?
The vegan diet banishes from your plate any product derived from a bug that grinds, cackles or whines. More and more Canadians are opting for veganism, but not necessarily for the same reasons. Some do it to support ethical treatment of animals, others because they feel it is better for health.
We all know that increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables has many benefits, yet it must be done in the right way. Experts agree that a good vegan diet makes you lose weight and makes you aware of what you eat and make better food choices. “You have to make sure you have a well-balanced diet that includes a wide variety of products,” says dietitian Vandana Sheth. Anything you eat can be bad for you depending on how you eat it. ”
You could go to the bathroom more often if you become vegan
A diet based on plants rich in fiber cleanses the intestine. Insoluble fiber contains more water, which gives more volume to the food and facilitates intestinal transit. (Clearly, you’ll notice that your stools are bigger and softer.) “Size matters, as we say,” says Liz Applegate, director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis.
By becoming vegan, you may be hungry more often
If your stomach is gurgling, maybe you’re abusing vegetables and you’re not going to get enough essential nutrients like protein in beans and whole grains. A cup (250 ml) of raw vegetables contains 25 calories, so a 300-calorie vegan meal could keep you having a good time. This does not mean, however, that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to provide you with energy throughout the day. “It’s important to diversify your diet,” says Vandana Sheth. If you’re taking a bowl of oatmeal, add some nuts, chia seeds, cinnamon and blueberries. Your cereal bowl will be much richer in nutrients. ”
By becoming vegan, you might feel more ballooned
If you eat more beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and other vegetables, do not be surprised if you feel bloated. Especially if you consume a lot of raw vegetables, which are difficult to assimilate through your digestive system. “If you increase your fiber intake, do it gradually,” says Michelle Dwyer, a nutrition consultant. This will give your body time to adapt. ”
It suggests steaming vegetables very lightly, chewing and eating mixed soups or fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut to help your metabolism better degrade and absorb food.
Your bacterial flora may change if you adopt a vegan diet
Your microbiome is made up of all the bacteria living in your digestive system. Researchers are studying how this unique bacterial flora will affect our health and our risk of disease. Some studies show that our diet can quickly transform our microbiome. In a small study published in Nature that compared plant-based diets in meat diets, researchers have found that Bilophila wadsworthia, a bacterium related to inflammatory bowel disease, is much more prevalent in the digestive system of people who eat animal foods. The latter had more faecal bile acid in the intestines that could cause gastrointestinal infections. “This seems to indicate that our microbiome is flexible and highly responsive to stimuli,” says Carolyn Slupsky, who teaches nutrition at the University of California at Davis.
You could feel a boost of energy by becoming vegan
Fats and processed sugars sap your energy, while foods rich in good fats, vitamins and minerals stimulate it greatly, as suggested by a recent study published in the American Journal of Cardiology . Researchers asked 620 people to participate in a survey about their diet, mental health and lifestyle. In light of these responses, the scientists then split the group between vegans, vegetarians and omnivores and analyzed the data. Vegans showed less anxiety as omnivores. A good vegan diet can also prevent peak blood sugar, says Vandana Sheth. “Vegans eat lighter foods, so their system is not clogged with all that excess fat and sugar.”
… but you may also be gaining weight
Do not be fooled by the word “vegan” on a snack. Energy bars and vegan modified proteins can also be filled with additives, processed sugars, fat, sodium and calories. For example, a small bowl of frozen vegan chili contains 80 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrate more than a small bowl of Wendy’s chili. “Unfortunately, sticking the word” vegan “on a product does not make calories disappear, says Dr. Applegate. It’s not a diet to lose weight ! “A processed food remains a processed food, whether it is vegan or not.
You could reduce your risk of disease
Vegan foods can reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease through phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables and offer many health benefits. “It’s a low-calorie diet, but loaded with high-quality nutrients,” says Michelle Dwyer. It allows you to optimize your energy and digestion, and gives your body what it needs to be healthy. “Scientists who compared 27 studies of people with plant-based diets found that vegans and vegetarians had lower cholesterol – sometimes 35 percent below average. Another review of the literature found that vegans reduced their cancer risk by about 15 percent and that vegetarians were 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease than omnivores.
You may feel more tired
Fatigue could betray vitamin B12 deficiency. Humans do not naturally produce vitamin B12, which they have to look for every day in animal products. Cows and sheep have a bacterium in their stomachs that allows them to produce this essential vitamin. In addition, humans are finding it increasingly difficult to assimilate B12 as they age. Experts recommend taking supplements of this vitamin, sprinkling some nutritional yeast on your popcorn or eating B12-enriched foods like soymilk and vegan breakfast cereals.
You may suffer from nutritional deficiencies
In addition to vitamin B12, you may also miss iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin D since some plant-based vitamins and minerals are less well absorbed by the body than those of animal origin. Experts also caution against too much consumption of foods such as kale, spinach, beans and seeds, as the phytic acid they contain can compromise the absorption of these essential nutrients.
“We recommend avoiding any excess, any form of unreasonable consumption,” Dr. Applegate advises. It takes variety. That’s the key to success. “For example, nutritionists say that if your diet is rich in vitamin C, your body will absorb plant iron three to six times more – vitamin C makes iron much more bioavailable. Adding salsa to a dish of rice and beans, or putting red peppers and citrus vinaigrette in your green salad, will really help your body better assimilate iron.
For vitamin D, experts recommend a daily dose of 10 minutes of sun without sunscreen. But if skin cancer scares you, you can replace this exposure by consuming vitamin D-enriched soy milk or by eating irradiated mushrooms.
After adopting a vegan diet, your athletic performance may decline
Studies show that there is no real difference between vegans and carnivores in terms of physical performance. But as with any diet, your physical abilities may get weaker if you do not give your body the nutrients it needs. The deficiencies of iron and zinc can have a major impact on your daily exercise. Iron carries oxygen in your blood, giving you endurance and resistance. Zinc helps your body repair injuries resulting from exercise.
In the absence of these essential minerals in your diet, you might see your athletic abilities decline. Female vegan athletes require 80 percent more iron than female omnivorous athletes because their bioavailability is lower.
It may take your muscles more time to recover after a workout
Dr. Applegate says she sees athletes banish meat from their plate without replacing it with 20 to 30 grams of essential protein at every meal – especially for older people. “New research shows that to recover from the same volume of exercise, we need to absorb more protein than when we were younger,” says the nutritionist. Your muscles deteriorate during exercise and protein synthesis rebuilds them after training. Fortunately, animal proteins as well as vegetable proteins give the same result here, except that the process is longer with vegetable proteins.
Experts recommend drinking a protein smoothie after exercise to help your body assimilate protein faster. The good news is that vegan nutrition is great for muscle recovery because it helps you replenish your glycogen stores.
Your bones could be better with a vegan diet
Data to determine which vegans or carnivores have better bones seems contradictory. But according to a literature review in Switzerland, vegans would be less exposed to a decrease in bone mineral density thanks to the low acidity of fruits and vegetables, a low acidity that inhibits bone resorption. a process that damages the bones and releases the minerals from the bones in the blood. But as few studies have looked at the impact of low acidity, studies on the subject need to be deepened and continued.