Can a vegan diet be dangerous?

Can a vegan diet be dangerous?

Registered dietitian, Monique Piderit, answers concerns about the vegan diet. 

Vegan diet
Vegan diet/ iStock

Have you been considering the vegan diet and wondered if it poses any health risks? 

Monique Piderit, a registered dietitian at Nutritional Solutions, says there are several benefits of the diet. 

"We know that in general we eat too little fresh fruit and vegetables. Low intakes of fruit is linked to over 520 000 heart disease deaths and more than 1.2 million stroke deaths globally each year," says Monique. 

"Low veggie intake is estimated to case just under 810 000 heart disease deaths and over 210 000 stroke deaths," she adds.

READ: Save the planet: Why a plant-based diet is a better option

The dietitian says a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is a great option. 

"Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in healthy nutrients, contain gut-healthy fibre, are low in energy/calories, and are virtually free from less desirable nutrients like cholesterol, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.

"A diet rich in fruit and vegetables may thus help manage our weight, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, and improve gut health."

However, even with all these benefits, the dietitian says there can be concerns about the vegan diet. 

"Now while there are health advantages, we do have some of the concerns of vegan eating."

She says this is because it can lead to a lower intake of other minerals that your body needs. 

"This is because it can be restrictive in big food groups so studies show vegans are more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12, omega-3, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and high-quality protein," says Monique. 

As a result, she advises that "it’s important that if you choose this way of eating to work with a dietitian to help guide you on reaching your nutrient requirements, potentially checking for deficiencies with blood tests, and guiding you on supplementation as and where needed."

READ: Does apple cider vinegar really aid in weight loss?

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Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor on any health-related issues.

Image courtesy of iStock

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