A vegan diet is not the same as a healthy diet
The amount of supply of vegetarian and vegan processed foods means that this diet is not necessarily a model of healthy eating
The vegan and vegetarian diet is increasingly widespread among the population. Almost everyone knows someone who follows it, or it may even be the eating model of the person who is reading this right now. It is becoming more and more normalized. Supermarkets offer a multitude of foods to replace others of animal origin. Restaurants have a multitude of options on their menus. It is becoming easier and easier not to eat meat (even milk and eggs) and to eat without fail. But this paradigm shift means that a vegetarian and vegan diet is no longer synonymous with good nutrition.
30 years ago, following this diet necessarily translated into a healthy diet. This is how Virginia Gómez, better known as “Enraged Dietitian,” tells it in the book of the same name that she has just published. “Before following one of these diets it had a halo effect, you couldn’t eat ultra-processed vegans because they didn’t exist, you were a market niche that didn’t interest you,” says the nutritionist. “There were no pastries, there were no hamburgers … you were forced to eat well, you had no choice,” he says and jokes: “Now there are all the vegan and vegetarian options you want: all the fats and sugars you are looking for.”
Even so, the author finds the positive side of this “boom” of veganism. He says that before, for example, vegetable milks were not sold or it was difficult to eat outside the home, something that now, thanks to the fact that the market has turned to this type of food, is easier. “That the big fast food restaurant chains have a vegetarian option allows vegetarian kids to continue going to these places with their friends and maintain a social life. You are no longer the weirdo of the group, ”laughs the professional, who also explains that this is double-edged weapon, and remember that these options “must be specific cases” of the diet of any person.
Does not escape the ultra-processed
Carolina González, nutritionist dietitian, makes another warning, since not only ultra-processed vegans pose a danger to the healthy diet of vegans and vegetarians. The professional explains that there are many foods of these characteristics that do not contain ingredients of animal origin, so they are not necessarily excluded from the diet. “French fries, pastries with palm oil, juices and soft drinks full of sugar …”, he lists.
And what should a vegetarian or vegan diet be based on to be healthy and balanced? Carolina González explains that this must have fresh food as a base that do not have animal origin. Given this exclusion, it is important to have a good supply of proteins of vegetable origin in the diet, so a good part of the diet of people who choose this diet should be nuts and mainly legumes, as well as soybeans and all its derivatives.
The essential vitamin B12
Also, vitamin B12 supplementation is very important if you choose to follow a diet of these characteristics, since it can only be obtained from a source of animal origin. «Supplementation is totally mandatory. Even if you are a vegetarian and eat eggs and milk, you do not take enough, so it will be necessary, “explains the nutritionist. Likewise, the professional remembers that, if this diet is followed, it is necessary to have an annual analysis, to keep track and know that “everything is in order.”
It is common for people looking to lose weight to adopt this diet to lose weight, since it excludes many food groups. But Carolina Fernández warns that doing this is counterproductive and reducing vegan and vegetarian diets to “another miracle diet.” “If it is done only for that reason, and not for a philosophy of respect for animals or caring for the environment, when it is left the weight will regain, so it would be one more diet», He concludes.