Extreme vegan diets can be very bad for you. A nutritionist explains why : ScienceAlert

Extreme vegan diets can be very bad for you. A nutritionist explains why : ScienceAlert

A vegan diet has become more and more popular over the years, especially among people who want to improve their health.

Indeed, a growing body of evidence shows that a plant-based diet (including a vegan diet) can have many health benefitsand were associated with lower risk of heart disease next to reduced body weight and cholesterol level.

However, some people take the vegan diet to extremes, choosing to eat only raw plant foods that can consume without cooking. Some also exclude foods that have been altered from their natural form or processed (such as oat or almond milk).

Proponents of this diet claim that cooking causes the ingredients to lose some of their important nutrients and enzymes. By eating a raw plant-based diet, they believe the diet will improve energy levels, prevent (and even reverse) disease and improve overall health.

But research suggests that a raw vegan diet, if followed for long periods of time, may cause more harm than good. Here’s why:

You may be missing out on important nutrients

Research suggests that some raw foods it can be healthier than cooked food. For example, cooking causes loss of Brussels sprouts and red cabbage as much as 22 percent their thiamine content. This is the shape vitamin B1 which keeps the nervous system healthy.

Although some vegetables may lose nutrients during cooking, others have a higher nutrient content when cooked. This is because some nutrients are bound within the vegetable’s cell walls. Cooking breaks down cell walls, allowing nutrients and more to be released easily absorbed by the body.

For example, when spinach is cooked, it becomes easier for the body absorb calcium is contains. Research has also found that cooking tomatoes reduces their vitamin C content by 28 percent increases their lycopene content by more than 50 percent.

Lycopene is associated with a lower risk of a a number of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancerand heart disease. Asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, kale and cauliflower are other examples of vegetables that have more nutrients when cooked.

Cooked vegetables can also provide the body with more antioxidants. These are molecules that can fight a type of harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can damage cells and eventually lead to disease.

Some vegetables (including asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli) contain higher levels of antioxidants beta-carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A), lutein and lycopene when cooked than raw.

A vitamin and mineral deficiency is likely

A raw vegan diet probably will many important vitamins and minerals are missing – namely vitamins B12 and D, selenium, zinc, iron and two types of omega-3 fatty acids. This is because many foods that contain high levels of these vitamins and minerals come from animals – such as meat and eggs.

All these vitamins play a key role in the structure, development and production of brain and nerve cells, while supporting a healthy immune system.

Of particular concern is the level of vitamin B12. A study of people following a strict raw food diet found that 38 percent of participants did lack of vitamin B12.

This is worrying, especially considering lack of vitamin B12 is associated with a range of problems including jaundice, mouth ulcers, vision problems, depressionand other mood swings.

The same study also found that a strict, raw vegan diet increased levels of homocysteine ​​(an amino acid that is broken down by vitamin B12) due to B12 deficiency. This is concerning because elevated homocysteine ​​levels can potentially increase risk cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

It can lead to loss of menstruation

If not planned correctly, a raw vegan diet can lead to unintentional weight loss if you are not consuming the amount of calories your body needs to function. This is of particular concern for young women.

Researchers found that 30 percent of women under 45 who followed a raw food diet for more than three years had partial to complete amenorrhea (absence of menstruation). This is probably due to the weight loss caused by the raw vegan diet.

Amenorrhea can cause a number of problems, including infertility, as well as reduced bone mineral density and osteoporosis. Other studies have also shown that young women who consumed 22-42 percent fewer calories than needed were at greater risk of suppressed reproductive function.

While following a plant-based diet can have many health benefits, a raw vegan diet can potentially take things too far and can lead to even greater risks if not followed carefully.

If you’re planning to follow a raw vegan diet, it’s important to plan carefully to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for optimal health, in the right amounts. I also wouldn’t recommend following it for a long period of time due to the numerous risks it can have.Conversation

Laura Brownsenior lecturer in nutrition, food and health sciences, Teesside University

This article was republished by Conversation under Creative Commons license. Read it original article.

#Extreme #vegan #diets #bad #nutritionist #explains #ScienceAlert

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