In which cases becoming vegan can be dangerous for your health

Iniciarse en el veganismo con automedicación puede traer graves riesgos para la salud.


Starting veganism with self-medication can bring serious health risks.

Photo: Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

A vegan diet is one where people exclude any food that comes from an animal such as eggs, dairy, meat, fish, poultry and even honey in their daily diet.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) continually stresses that a healthy diet helps protect us from malnutrition in all its forms, as well as noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Although there is not much information on the position of the WHO regarding vegan diets, both population and individual recommendations consist of achieve a healthy weight and caloric balance, reduce caloric intake from fat, switch from saturated to unsaturated fats, and eliminate trans-fatty acids.

One of the few studies available in this regard is Plant-based diets and their impact on health, sustainability and the environment, document from its European Regional Office that reads the following:

“For people who prefer not to eat some or most animal-based foods, well-planned, healthy plant-based meals can provide adequate levels of micronutrients. For people who prefer a more moderate approach, substantial health benefits can be achieved even through incremental reductions in animal foods and substitutions with healthy plant foods. However, for any plant-based diet, it is prudent to consider the types and quality of plant foods included in the diet.”

Self-medication, ultra-processed vegetables and other risks of veganism

There they warn about the problems of consuming ultra-processed vegetables that are gaining more and more followers, as well as regarding the possible nutrient deficiency if we do not plan the diet well (B12 and others).

The promise of many vegan diets is help people control their weight, For this reason, Carrie Forrest, Master of Public Health specializing in Nutrition (MPH) explains some dangers of the vegan diet.

In his post, Forrest argues that a vegan diet does not necessarily mean that it is healthy, since it does not exclude a large amount of processed foods, sugar or gluten.

For example, vegans are at increased risk of anemia due to lack of heme iron. Although plant foods do contain a form of iron, it is called nonheme iron and is much less absorbable by the body.

The increased risk of depression due to low intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fatty acids in fish and increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids from foods such as walnuts.

Soy protein sources can cause hormonal disorders and increased intake of heavy metals.

There may also be a deficit of vitamin B12, as well as an excess in the consumption of carbohydrates and there is even the risk of suffer from eating disorders such as orthorexia.

Given these warnings, it is essential that when deciding to follow a vegan diet, you have adequate nutritional medical supervision to avoid vitamin deficiencies that can seriously affect your health.

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