Today we will talk about: VEGAN DIET! We will analyze the MOST IMPORTANT aspects that characterize it and we will try to adopt a CONSTRUCTIVE (or in any case disinterested) criticism, RESPECTING the MORAL principles of all those who follow it.
The vegan diet is a diet that falls within the group of vegetarians, but at the same time it is distinguished by its greater RESTRICTIVITY.
First of all, we SPECIFY that VEGANISM (also called VEGETALISM) is a dietary style that EXCLUDES all foods of animal origin, i.e. the animal itself, eggs, milk, honey and all derivatives that can be obtained from it. Instead, it allows the consumption of VEGETABLE foods (whole or part of them), MUSHROOMS and MICROORGANISMS. Then there are the purely RAW VEGANS (which I take only NOT cooked foods) and the FRUITARIANS (ie VEGETALIANS who eat ONLY the FRUITABLE body of the PLANTS).
It is quite important to be able to distinguish a VEGAN or VEGETALIAN from those who also consume MILK AND DERIVATIVES, OR EGGS, OR BOTH, since these fall into the very distinct classification of VEGETARIAN MILK-, OVO- or MILK-OVO.
Proceeding to the description of the Vegan Diet, it is first of all important to underline that, contrary to what one might believe, food EXCLUSIONS have characterized the human diet for several millennia. The ARCHAIC motivations of these dietary choices were (and, in some cases, ARE ALL NOW) purely religious or philosophical. They (based on the SPECIFIC CASE) require the exclusion of certain FOODS for limited periods or permanently.
On the contrary, VEGETARIANISM, VEGANISM, RAWISM and FRUITARISM are quite RECENT phenomena. These, with respect to religious and philosophical bonds, ARE NOT ORIENTED by the imposition of a spiritual faith (or guide), but by the MORALITY, EMOTIONS and ETHICS of the individual person.
As far as the SCIENTIFIC aspect of the vegan diet is concerned, the discussion becomes a bit more complicated ...
In CERTAIN physical and metabolic conditions, following (even only for short periods) the VEGAN DIET, “could“ have a therapeutic effect for the organism; for example, subjects who tend to have HYPERCHOLESTEROLEMICS, HYPERTHESIS, STITICS and those with FATTY HEPATIC STEATOSIS could benefit from it.
However, on a more IN-DEPTH analysis, if adopted PERMANENTLY, the vegan diet CANNOT be considered a BALANCED diet as it is LACK of certain extremely important molecules both for the growth and for the maintenance of the state of health of the adult and elderly.
To be honest, following a VEGETAL diet is an extremely tough, if not IMPOSSIBLE undertaking! This derives from the fact that the EXCLUSION of raw materials of animal origin also significantly LIMITS the agricultural PRODUCTION and the industrial FORMULATION of many foods that tend to be of VEGETABLE origin. Perhaps not all VEGANS know that among the most used organic organic fertilizers stand out the HORN, BLOOD, BONE FLOUR, FISH FLOUR and many other products obtained from substrates of animal origin. Also of animal origin, there are some food additives; indicative examples are the COCHINIGLIA RED dye (E124, obtained from insects) and FISH GLUE (E441, based on animal collagen). Although food labels can reveal a lot about the nature of the food, it is IMPOSSIBLE to really know whether agricultural land has been fertilized with these products or not; moreover, it is unthinkable to say the least to investigate the possible presence of certain ingredients used in collective catering (where, moreover, in the absence of ALLERGIES, one would lie without too many problems).
We therefore come to the CARDINE POINT of this short presentation: the NUTRITIONAL balance of the VEGAN or VEGETLIAN DIET.
Without any PERSONAL INTERPRETATION or CONCEPTUAL DISTORTION, by scrutinizing the data obtained from the various scientific researches, it is possible to attribute POSITIVE and NEGATIVE ASPECTS to it.
Among the NEGATIVE aspects, the most important are that:
- The vegan diet DOES NOT provide SUFFICIENT quantities of CYANOCOBALAMIN or VITAMIN B12; this necessarily requires food INTEGRATION or the INJECTION of specific drugs. For a vegan who DOES NOT INTEGRATE the vit. B12 in the diet, the chances of experiencing deficiency complications are almost 100%. At best, a PERNICIOUS anemic picture is highlighted, easily reversible with integration or injection. Instead, in the most unfortunate hypothesis, the fetus hosted by a VEGAN deficient in vit. B12, is MORE likely to be born with physical MALFORMATIONS and complications affecting the central nervous system. Let's not forget the correlation between vitamin deficiency. B12 and HYPERHOMOCYSTEINEMIA; CYANOCOBALAMINE is directly involved in the conversion of homocysteine into methionine (two amino acids). If this transformation does not occur, homocysteine accumulates in the blood, constituting a cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factor.
- The vegan diet reaches with MORE difficulty the supply of certain MINERAL SALTS which are EXTREMELY important for the body. The most indicative examples are IRON and CALCIUM, present in plants ONLY in chemical form LITTLE BIOAVAILABLE and whose absorption can be CONSIDERABLY HINDERED by certain ANTI-NUTRITIONAL agents. They compromise the absorption of mineral salts: some components of the fiber, phytic acid, oxalic acid, phosphates, tannins, etc. Calcium deficiency, especially in developmental age, can cause even serious imbalances in skeletal integrity, manifest both in the short and long term. Iron deficiency, on the other hand, can further aggravate a possible anemic condition, adding a SIDEROPENIC deficiency to the PERNICIOUS picture induced by the lack of vitamin. B12.
- To reach a good biological value of the proteins in the meal, the vegan diet must NECESSARILY resort to the FOOD ASSOCIATIONS of cereals and legumes; even, for some professionals, the associations are not sufficient to fully cover the need for essential amino acids. Furthermore, in VERY ENERGETIC DIETS such as in that of athletes, with the vegetalian diet it is extremely difficult to maintain a sufficient protein intake WITHOUT EXCEEDING the intake of CARBOHYDRATES (as they are much more abundant than proteins in cereals and legumes).
- Often, the vegan diet provides excessive quantities of FOOD FIBER and CHELATING MOLECULES; Whole grains, whole legumes, vegetables and fruit contain high amounts of THESE nutritional and anti-nutritional components which, if in excess, can hinder the absorption of some nutrients. In addition, dietary fiber could give rise to intestinal disorders such as bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.
- Then, it is not uncommon for in the VEGAN diet excessive portions of foods high in carbohydrates (pasta and bread) and / or lipids (from vegetable oils or dried fruit) are consumed, greatly increasing the insulin action and the fraction of fat. in the diet.
- The INSIGNIFICANT intake of SATURATED fatty acids, and totally ABSENT of CHOLESTEROL. This aspect significantly reduces the risk of hypercholesterolemia and therefore of ATEROSCLEROTIC deposition.
- The EXCELLENT intake of UNSATURATED fatty acids which contribute to BALANCING SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, improve any primary HYPERTENSION, and reduce CHOLESTEROL and TRIGLYCERIDES in the blood; these good fats are able to improve almost all the pathologies that make up the metabolic syndrome.
- The EXCELLENT intake of ANTIOXIDANTS, including pro-vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and all kinds of phenolic substances. These molecules represent: real ANTI TUMOR, a protective factor from LDL hypercholesterolemia (because they prevent oxidation) and greater protection from NEURO-DEGENERATIVE diseases.
- The EXCELLENT intake of PHYTOSTEROLS and VEGETABLE LECITHINS; these are molecules which, on different mechanisms, favor the reduction of cholesterol in the blood and therefore prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
- The EXCELLENT intake of PREBIOTICS which, by favoring the selection of a BENEFICIAL bacterial flora, together with the purgative action of the fiber, favor the DRASTIC reduction of the risk of INTESTINAL CANCER.
- The EXCELLENT intake of POTASSIUM, MAGNESIUM and WATER which promote the control of blood pressure and prevent primary arterial hypertension.