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Vegan

Diet Origins

There are several different types of vegetarian diets. The vegan diet in particular was developed for an individual who’s religious, ecologic, or personal beliefs entail the restriction of all sources of animal protein.

Diet Philosophy

Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” There are many beliefs coupled with the vegan diet. Animal lovers and health activists alike seek the various benefits associated with following an animal free diet. Some of the philosophies underlying the diet include:

  • Striving to make a difference against animal cruelty
  • Preserving the environment through decreased factory farming and emissions released by livestock
  • Living a holistic lifestyle by managing health without medication

Diet Claims

Dietary cholesterol and saturated fat are eliminated by following this diet. The vegan diet is complete with fruits, vegetables, and grains. Scientific evidence suggests that vegetarian diets may contribute to lowered risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Health claims approved by the Food and Drug Administration associated with the vegan diet include:

  • Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber containing fruits, vegetables and grain products may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Diets low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancers.
  • Diets containing at least 1.3 grams of vegetable oil sterol esters per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Diets containing at least 3.4 grams of plant stanol esters per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol which include 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. 

 Diet Structure

This diet relies on the elimination of animal protein including eggs, dairy, seafood, poultry, and meat. Protein in the vegan diet should come from plant sources. The only complete protein from a plant source is soy. Combinations of whole grains and legumes throughout the day will also provide complete protein sources. The vegan diet will need to contain good sources of vitamin B12 such as fortified cereals, soy beverages, or supplements. Adequate calcium, iron, and zinc should also be monitored.

Food Restrictions

This diet eliminates eggs, dairy, seafood, poultry, and meat. By doing so, sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol will also be limited. Desserts are allowed, but should be restricted in added sugar. You will also find that baked goods are generally prepared with eggs and dairy, thus many products will not fit into the vegan diet without proper substitution.

Supplements

If the recommended daily allowances for vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, or zinc are not being met through the diet, it is recommended to supplement. During pregnancy vegans must insure daily vitamin B12 intake of 2 mcg and 2.6 mcg during lactation.

 

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