In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is becoming vegan worth it?” and will discuss some reasons why becoming a vegan is worth it.
Is becoming vegan worth it?
Yes, becoming a vegan is worth it. Becoming a vegan has many health benefits like decreased risk of heart diseases, decreased risk of cancer and obesity. Becoming vegan also helps your environment from deteriorating and it also helps to conserve the life of animals on the planet.
In Europe, the proportion of vegetarians is the highest in Italy, the UK, and Germany (9%), while in the Netherlands it is 4%. It is also worth highlighting Austria and Switzerland, where the proportion of vegetarians is 3–3%. Researchers carried out a nationally representative questionnaire in the USA entitled the “National Health Interview Survey”. Only 4% of the participants reported using a vegetarian diet and 2% a vegan diet for health reasons within the past 12 months (1).
What Is a Vegan?
People using vegetarian (plant based) diets can be classified into different subgroups. Vegans do not consume any products of animal origin; therefore, they avoid such types of products in their everyday lives, and this attitude is not restricted to their meals. Lacto-vegetarians consume milk and dairy products, as well. Semi-vegetarians predominantly use a plant-based diet, which, however, may be moderately supplemented with the consumption of poultry and fish. Flexitarians are similar to the previously mentioned subgroup; they mostly eat vegetables and fruit, but they do not have to give up on meat and fish. Pesco-vegetarians are considered to be one of the most permissive users of a plant-based diet, apart from ingredients of plant origin, milk, dairy products, eggs, and fish also feature in their diet (1).
Veganism is all about changing our eating habits, no matter how big or tiny. To decrease animal suffering and fight for a more humane society, veganism encourages people to forgo items manufactured from animals.
Food and lifestyle choices are both possible with this product. Meat, eggs, and dairy products are all excluded from a vegan diet, which consists only of plant-based foods. Additional concerns, such as wearing clothing manufactured from plants like cotton or linen, or alternative materials such as imitation leather in place of clothing made from animal skins like wool or leather, are also part of a vegan lifestyle.
It’s also true that veganism isn’t flawless like any other cuisine or lifestyle choice. Commodity crops like maize, sugar, and coffee may also lead to human rights and environmental violations if they are farmed in a way that exploits people and harms the environment, depending on how they are cultivated. Veganism, by its very nature, seeks to minimize damage.
Evidence suggests that a plant-based diet may result in more effective exploitation of economic resources, which may reduce environmental impacts. Concerning environmental protection, the ameliorating effects on global warming and environmental pollution are mostly reported by researchers. It has been confirmed by a growing number of studies that excessive meat production and meat consumption and factory farm conditions impose an unreasonable burden on the natural environment (1). Therefore, reducing or avoiding meat consumption may be more sustainable.
For the remainder of Veganuary, here are 10 reasons why turning vegan is a good idea?
Cardiovascular disease may be reduced by following a plant-based diet
Meat-based diets are higher in saturated fats than vegetarian ones. According to research, meat-eaters have a higher chance of heart disease death than vegetarians.
A number of nutrition guidelines stress the risk factors of consuming red and processed meat in the development of primarily cardiovascular diseases. The cholesterol level and blood pressure in most vegetarians are found at the lower end of the normal range (1).
A vegan diet might provide you with extra energy
With less fat in your blood, you’re likely to feel energized – both physically and figuratively. An excess of fat in your blood may cause arteries to get obstructed, which prevents your muscles from receiving adequate oxygen. As a consequence, you may feel drained of your vitality.
Vitality is considered a key component of healthy physical and emotional functioning and is maximized when an organism is robustly and healthily functioning. Therefore a healthy diet supporting maximal functioning would be associated with greater vitality. Studies demonstrate that vitality was significantly positively associated with a plant-based diet and reduced sugar intake (2).
Eating meat has a negative environmental impact
Meat isn’t only bad for you, it’s also bad for the world. At every scale, from local to global, consuming beef is responsible for “one of the most major environmental impacts,” a United Nations investigation found. A plant-based diet is a more efficient exploitation of economic resources, which promotes the protection of life on Earth (1).
Vegetables may help reduce blood pressure levels
Studies have indicated that meat-eaters had higher blood pressure than vegetarians and vegans. The leading cause of mortality in the world is hypertension, which is caused by an increase in blood pressure. And the elderly aren’t the only ones who need to be concerned. This observation may be due in part to the lower BMI seen in vegetarians. Lower blood pressure levels may also result from the potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, dietary fat, and fiber found in vegetarian diets. Fruit and vegetable intake was responsible for about one half of the blood pressure reduction (3)..
Eating less meat might help you have better skin
When it comes to improving your skin, a plant-based diet is an excellent choice. The antioxidants included in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help prevent wrinkles, brown spots, and other indications of aging by neutralizing free radicals. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes contain a complex mixture of phytochemicals possessing potent antioxidant, antiproliferative, and cancer-protective activity (3).
You can lose weight by being vegan
New research found that a vegetarian diet is twice as successful as a meat-based diet when it comes to weight reduction. Evidence suggests that vegetarian men weighed 4.6–12.6 kg less and vegetarian women weighed 2.9–10.6 kg less than their non-vegetarian peers (1).
Eating less meat may help your digestive system function better
A well-balanced plant-based diet is beneficial to your digestive system as well as your general well-being. While removing meat isn’t enough to enhance digestion, it is necessary to prepare vegan meals wisely. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which means you’ll eat more nutrients, feel full sooner, and have regular bowel movements as a result.
In addition, high fiber intake also encourages the growth of species that ferment fiber into metabolites as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetate, propionate, and butyrate. The positive health effects of SCFAs are myriad, including improved immunity against pathogens, blood–brain barrier integrity, provision of energy substrates, and regulation of critical functions of the intestine. In conclusion, the available literature suggests that a vegetarian/vegan diet is effective in promoting a diverse ecosystem of beneficial bacteria to support both human gut microbiome and overall health (4).
Veganism has been shown to lessen inflammation in the body
The more processed foods you consume, the more likely you are to have high levels of inflammation in your body. Inflammation that persists for months or years, on the other hand, is not natural and should be avoided. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease may all be lowered by doing so.
Vegetarians also consume higher levels of flavonoids and other phytochemicals than do omnivores. These antioxidants provide beneficial cardiovascular protection, by reducing platelet aggregation and blood clotting, acting as anti-inflammatory agents, and improving vascular endothelial function (3).
Diabetes risk may be reduced by avoiding meat
In several studies, animal protein, particularly red and processed meat, has been shown to raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Omnivores are twice as likely to get diabetes than vegans. Veganism has the potential to end the mistreatment of animals in the meat industry.
Consider doing it for the animals if you don’t do it for yourself. Animals reared for the meat business sometimes grow up in confined, tiny rooms with limited access to the outside world, even though many of these animals are handled humanely.
Higher intakes of plant foods, such as vegetables, whole grain foods, legumes, and nuts, but not fruit juice, have been associated with a substantially lower risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and improved glycemic control in either normal or insulin-resistant individuals (3).
Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is becoming vegan worth it?” and discussed some reasons why becoming a vegan is worth it.
- Fehér, András, et al. A Comprehensive Review of the Benefits of and the Barriers to the Switch to a Plant-Based Diet. Sustainab, 2020, 12,10.
- Jackson, C.E., DiPlacido, J. Vitality as a Mediator Between Diet Quality and Subjective Wellbeing Among College Students. J Happiness Stud, 2020, 21, 1617–1639.
- Craig, Winston John. Nutrition concerns and health effects of vegetarian diets. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 2010, 25, 613-620.
- Tomova, Aleksandra, et al. The effects of vegetarian and vegan diets on gut microbiota. Front nutr, 2019, 6, 47.