If you’re considering turning plant-based for Veganuary 2024, you should read this first.
Experts have cautioned that a haphazard vegan diet might leave you short in essential minerals such as vitamin A, iodine, and vitamin B12.
Yes, Veganuary is just for a month, but Nottingham University researchers discovered that even four-week diets’significantly reduce’ the consumption of the aforementioned nutrients among former meat eaters if they do not take nutritional supplements.
The latest study, which included 154 participants and was published in the journal Nutrients, found that Veganuary participants should plan their meals carefully to ensure they are obtaining all of the nutrients they require, rather than going for the first plant-based milk and meat alternative they can find.
Dr Simon Welham, the study’s lead researcher, stated, ‘Making a big adjustment to your diet, whatever that may be, will alter nutrient intake.
‘By studying what occurs with micronutrient consumption in a short-term vegan diet, we can determine where further nutritional support may be necessary, which may be obtained by adding particular types of foods or increasing the intake of certain foods.
‘With excellent preparation and an awareness of what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet, you can acquire all the nutrients your body requires regardless of culinary choice.’
So, how can you make sure you’re completing Veganuary safely and not starving your body of essential nutrients?
‘Veganuary can be done absolutely healthily, if followed carefully, but it can have an effect on people’s nutritional levels, even after only a month,’ Simon told MailOnline.
‘It is critical that individuals who transition to vegan milks, for example, ensure that they are supplemented with iodine, or attempt to buy items that contain iodine, such as iodised salt.
Plant milks and some breakfast cereals may also include vitamin B12.
‘Some people who join up for this month-long lifestyle shift make little effort to think about it and may rely too much on manufactured vegan substitute meals that are deficient in nutrients.
‘Based on this study, the advise for them is to read the label, especially for things like iodine, which is added to certain plant milks.’
Vitamin B12 maintains the integrity of your neurological system, helps your body produce red blood cells, and aids in the release of energy from meals.
It is present in meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs, none of which you would consume as a vegan, thus fortified foods are essential.
According to the study, supplements for B12 are also an option, with B12 intake’substantially enhanced’ with the introduction of supplements in a vegan diet.
Vitamin A, commonly known as retinol, is essential for immune system strength, eye sight, and good skin.
It’s no surprise that vegans may become deficient in Vitamin A, considering the primary sources include cheese, eggs, fatty salmon, milk, yoghurt, and liver, none of which are plant-based. Experts emphasise the need of supplements in this situation.
Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which keep your cells and metabolism healthy – but it’s also present in cow’s milk, dairy products, marine seafood, and shellfish.
It may be found in plant meals like cereals and grains, but the amount depends on the iodine content of the soil where the plants are produced.
Cholesterol is vital because it helps create the outer layer of your cells. It’s needed to manufacture vitamin D, which helps keep your teeth, bones, and muscles healthy, and it aids in the production of bile, which is necessary for digestion.
However, there is good cholesterol (called HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL and non-HDL), and having too much of either can cause artery blockage, increasing your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
The Nottingham University study does imply that following a vegan diet may assist omnivores who want to lower their SFA or cholesterol intake in the near run.
Source My Celebrity Life.