The vegan trend is increasing exponentially. According to a 2016 survey, the number of vegans in Britain has increased by more than 360% over the past decade, and it’s a movement being led by the under 35s (2). Yes, it does have a lot of benefits but there is no concrete evidence that our bodies don’t need meat. The one thing our bodies do not need is refined starches/ sugar (sucrose). Eating healthy and balanced meals have just as much benefits as any other diet. However, a balanced diet is always sustainable, inexpensive and mostly don’t need any supplements.
Reasons for going vegan
The main reason for going vegan is due to animal cruelty or the ethical argument. Secondly, the health benefits and thirdly due to it becoming a trend on social media. I know the Game changer made a lot of people start thinking about becoming vegan but they forgot there is so many athletes succeeding in their sports with a good balanced diet. It comes back to individuals and they should figure out what works for them. Every person has a unique body composition where your body may thrive on something else than the person next to you.
Potential problems with going Vegan
There can be an inadequate intake of a few micronutrients in the vegan trend. But our main focus for now is Vitamin B12. Sources of Vitamin B12 are mostly animal foods like, liver, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese and beef. Plant based foods like beans and lentils also contains Vitamin B12 but in much smaller amounts. For example, 1 cup of beans equals 0.9 mcg while 1 tin Tuna has up to 81 mcg Vitamin B21. The best sources of B12 for vegans will be fortified meals, like cereals, tofu and some soy products. Or you might need some supplements.
Function of B12
B12 helps to produce red blood cells and it forms a part of our DNA. Therefore it is very important for the nerve system to function properly. Stomach acid and enzymes separates B12 from the animal protein to make it available for absorption. The Intrinsic Factor is an important molecule that assists in the absorption of Vitamin B12. (1). Without the intrinsic factor, Vitamin b12 won’t be absorbed and the treatment for this will be a B12 injection. Intrinsic Factor deficiency is mainly due to a genetic problem.
The reason why
B12 is only one of the Vitamins that can be deficient in any type of unbalanced diet. If you have a legitimate reason (health condition or strong beliefs) to stop eating meat, grains or fats, by all means go for it. But if you are doing it just because everyone else is doing it, just be honest with yourself and ask why?
- Al-Awami, H. M., Raja, A. & Soos, M. P., 2020. Physiology, Gastric Intrinsic Factor. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546655/
[Accessed 21 October 2020].