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Is Being Vegan Healthier than Eating Meat?

VEGAN DIET
11th September, 2023

Vegan vs meat diet: Which one is better?

Veganism is fast becoming a global phenomenon. People nowadays are making a conscious choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle for varied reasons. Some choose to consume a plant-only diet on moral grounds, while others do so for the environment's sake. Many, however, voluntarily go in for meatless meals and plant-based proteins because of health aspects believing that vegan meals are healthier than meat-based diets.

Veganism has multiple pros and cons. Interestingly, the vegan food culture has caught up with many UAE residents in the last decade. Take the case of Veganty, a vegan restaurant that started in Dubai in 2017. Within 4-5 years, it has become the largest restaurant in the world offering plant-only cuisines.

The trend to embrace veganism caught pace during the 2020 lockdown in the UAE as many residents consciously shifted to a plant-based diet. This comes from growing health concerns and increasing animal welfare and greenhouse gas awareness. When considering diet meal plan in Dubai, the choice between vegan and consuming meat is personal. While both options can be healthy, a well-planned vegan diet can offer certain health benefits.

Considering the growing popularity of veganism, the big question is whether "Vegan food is, in fact, healthier than meat or not?" This article will present reasons supporting the belief that a green diet can have multiple benefits vis-a-vis meat-based meal plans.

Is a Plant-Based Diet Healthier than a Meat-Based Diet?

An observational study in the UK on "Difference in health-related biomarkers profile of vegetarians and meat-eaters: A cross-sectional analysis of the UK Biobank study" was conducted to understand the relationship between diets and health through 19 health-related biomarkers. The study involved 177,723 healthy adults following vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets and used the data available from the UK Biobank.

The biomarkers, indicators of good or bad health conditions, were related to medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular issues, kidney and liver functions, etc. These biomarkers are used globally to understand the impact of diet on health.

The results of the study mention that vegetarians had a considerably lower concentration for 14 biomarkers. Therefore, it concluded that people having a green diet have favorable biomarkers compared to people who eat meat regularly.

Since vegans follow a stricter plant-based diet compared to vegetarians, it can be concluded that they have healthier biomarker profiles than their meat-eating counterparts.

Vegans May Have Lower Risks of Cardiovascular Diseases

Vegan food primarily consists of fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and higher in fiber content. Due to this, veganism results in reduced concentrations of cholesterol, including bad and good cholesterol.

People following a fully plant-based diet usually fare the highest on the HEI or Healthy Eating Index. In addition, they also have fewer blood pressure issues than the rest.

All of these indicate the possibility that going vegan can positively affect the heart and circulatory system.

Veganism Might Help Keep Your Weight Under Control

It has been seen that green diet consumers were fitter with normal waist circumference. At the same time, meat eaters were found to be prone to weight problems, like being overweight or obese.

Vegans Might Live Longer Than People Consuming Non-Veg Food

There is a direct link between plant-based diets and longevity since it lowers the chances of dying prematurely from varied medical conditions vis-a-vis omnivores.

Plant-based foods are believed to have the potential to reduce premature death risks by a significant degree compared to people eating meat regularly.

Though such studies are ongoing and there is still no concrete evidence that one diet form helps reduce death risks vis-a-vis the others, experts believe that a green diet can help people live longer.

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What Makes Vegans Healthier Than Non-Vegetarians?

Notably, a complete green diet has no animal-based ingredients. This includes eggs, fish, dairy, and meat. Instead, vegan foods are mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds. These are all rich sources of antioxidants and plant proteins, besides being high in fiber and low in calories.

These nutrients together help prevent medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancers like colon cancer, etc.

Overall, vegans are believed to have a healthier lifestyle compared to non-vegetarians. It is seen that the former group has a better BMI or Body Mass Index and tends to avoid junk and over-processed foods. That is why many athletes are shifting to eating only vegetables and fruits because it helps them maintain their body weight and energizes them during high-intensity exercises.

Concerns

Some people believe that complete plant-based foods are low in essential proteins, salt, vitamin B12, and calcium. Such foods are also known to increase the levels of triglycerides and cystatin C in the blood, which may impact the functioning of the kidney. B12 and calcium are mainly obtained from meat-based foods and are minimally present in fruits and vegetables.

There's also a bit of scepticism about vegans consuming highly processed foods, junk, and high-sugar content food. Such foods can lead to chronic and fatal medical conditions even with a vegan diet.

People consuming complete plant-based meals must stick to only robust and nutrient-rich foods if they wish to stay healthy. They must consume natural foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fortified food, and whole grains, ensuring they are minimally processed.

On the contrary, if their meal plans are poorly planned, and they consume high amounts of sugar, oily, and processed foods, it can have adverse effects. They may be technically vegan, but they will not witness the positive health effects of veganism.

Only the nutritious version produces healthier results, keeping the person free from cardiovascular diseases, their weight under control, and more.

Bottom Line

Dietary habits influence health to a great extent. Experts believe that reducing or cutting off meat, especially red meat helps reduce various health hazards. Such meals combat high blood pressure, diabetes, certain forms of cancers, heart diseases, and more.

A meat-based diet leads to increased LDL or bad cholesterol levels that block the heart, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Moderation is the answer for people who find it difficult to cut off meats completely.

Try vegan lunch boxes in the office through meal delivery services and eat fish or lean meat once a week to stay your fittest best! At all costs, if you are a vegan or intend to follow this plant-based diet, stay true to consuming only nutritious foods so that you can stay healthy and gain from the pros of this specific diet plan.

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