Research has proven that both vegan and vegetarian diets are typically low in cholesterol and saturated fat. They also tend to include a high amount of healthy plant compounds, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Further, they contain high amounts of foods that are dense in nutrients. These could include fruits vegetables, seeds, nuts, soy products, and grains.
Vegan and vegetarian diets that are poor planned, however, may result in an insufficient intake of certain nutrients, particularly vitamin D, zinc, calcium, and iron. These two diets also have a tendency to contain restricted amounts of both B12 and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, although there are generally lower levels of these nutrients in a vegan diet over a vegetarian diet.
An Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics report, along with a number of scientific reviews, say that both vegan and vegetarian diets can be regarded as being appropriate for any stage of life if the diet has been well planned.
A low amount of such nutrients as vitamins B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids can have a negative effect in various aspects of health, both physical and mental, however. Both vegans and vegetarians may have a lower intake of these nutrients. Studies have shown that vegetarians tend to intake slightly more vitamin B12 and calcium than vegans.
Both vegans and vegetarians should pay attention to how they should approach this issue by adopting strategies designed to increase these nutrients in their diet via plant foods. Further, it may be necessary to intake supplements and fortified foods, especially for such nutrients as vitamins B12 and D, omega-3, calcium, and iron.
Vegans and vegetarians should consider undertaking an analysis of their daily consumption nutrients, as well as taking necessary supplements and having their blood nutrient levels measured. The few studies that have been taken that compared both diets reveal that vegans may be less at risk when it comes to developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and various types of cancer than their vegetarian counterparts. Vegans also tend to be lower in the BMI category and seem to gain less weight as they get older. Most of the studies thus far have been observational, however.
Other forms of veganism
While both vegans and vegetarians may opt to avoid animal products for similar reasons, the choice is often made with more than just diet in mind for vegans. Veganism, in fact, is often regarded as a way of life that’s largely about animal rights.
Many vegans, therefore, also avoid buying items of clothing that contain suede, leather, wool, or silk. Further, many boycott any company that tests on animals, instead purchasing only cosmetics free of animal by-products.
Ethical vegans further tend to stay away from horse races, rodeos, zoos, and circuses, as well as other activities that involve using animals for entertainment purposes. Last but not least, many environmentalists choose a vegan diet in order to reduce the effect on our planet’s resources, along with any benefits that aid the fight against climate change.