Adopting a veggie or vegan lifestyle is becoming an increasingly popular choice. In fact, in 2010, vegetarians were thought to take up 21% of the world’s population - that’s 1.45 billion people! A focus on plant-based ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds can be a wholly righteous option for yourself and the planet, so should you make the big change?
There are copious amounts of research surrounding the pros and cons of taking up a plant-based diet; so much research that it can often become confusing as to whether it is hugely beneficial or greatly detrimental to your health. Well, we want to make things a little simpler for you. Here are some pros and cons to clear some things up...
Pro: You’ll get more goodness
Plants are packed full of rich minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants, all proven to significantly reduce your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. A 2017 study from the American nutritionist Diane Quagliani also suggested that only one in five Americans are getting the adequate amount of fiber in their diet. Because vegetables are naturally rich in fiber, eating a plant-based diet could be what it takes to increase your fiber intake to the healthy recommended amount.
Pro: You might lose weight
Weight-loss is a common outcome of switching to a plant-based diet because vegetables are naturally lower in carbohydrates and saturated fats. You’ll certainly be consuming fewer calories, so if you are needing to decrease your body-mass-index, then this type of diet could be for you.
Pro: It’s better for the environment
The eco-friendly green movement that’s taken off in the last few years has finally made it common knowledge that our mass consumption of meat is significantly contributing to climate change. Switching to a meat-free diet is a big step in adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle, considerably lowering your carbon footprint.
Con: You might consume less protein
Animal-based protein is a key source of daily protein for any meat-eater, so taking meat out of your diet means you’ll only be able to reach your recommended protein intake from plants. It’s essential that you source your protein intake efficiently through the other choices of your diet.
Con: You may develop nutrient deficiencies
Nutrients like iron and vitamin B12 are much more abundant in meat, so you have a likelier chance of developing nutrient deficiencies if you lead a plant-based diet long term, sometimes leading to various severe health issues.
Con: It might cost you more
There’s frequent debates as to whether a vegetarian diet is either more expensive or cheaper. The fact is, the lifestyle will cost more if you are a usual consumer of canned goods, frozen food, and ready meals because you will generally be having to shop more due to the shorter shelf-life of fresh plant foods.
If you are considering switching to a plant-based diet, then you should take the time to decide whether it is the right choice for you. Nevertheless, please take these opinions on the advantages and disadvantages lightly - veganism and vegetarianism is still a wholesome option for a well-rounded diet if all precautions on getting the right nutrition are taken carefully.