A Look into Veganism and Plant Based Diets

In recent years the trend of converting to a vegan or plant based diet has been on the rise. As a result there has been rising debate among vegans and those who Maintain a western diet if veganism is a safe and healthy way to go about maintaining your health. It is to my understanding that converting to a vegan or plant based diet is completely possible to thrive on and encouraged.

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a vegan diet although completely devoid of animal products isn’t hard to maintain and it could benefit your wallet and your health. Nutritional scientists have shown that consuming animal products in excess can be dangerous for one’s health. that consuming large meat and dairy products can cause heart disease, diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis formation, cancer, and other health issues. I is my goal to analyze why people have turned to plant based eating and to see if plant based diets are truly superior over others.

Western Diets

The World Health Organization stated that the leading causes of health related deaths in the United States are high blood pressure,high blood glucose, tobacco use, lack of physical inactivity, and obesity. these conditions can lead to serious medical conditions like Heart disease, cancers, or diabetes. with the exception of tobacco all are related to dietary and exercise malpractices. A western diet is prioritizes the high intake of animal products and processed grains but put low priority on intake of nuts, legumes, whole grains, vegetables and fruit products.As a result the american diet has prioritized a diet that’s high in sodium,protein, saturated fats, and sugar but low in vitamins,minerals,and antioxidants resulting in the higher rates of obesity, cancer and heart disease. As a response to this vegans and plant based eaters are changing how they view their plates. On the contrary to western diet dinners they now don’t center the meal around animal proteins with vegetables only as sides or non existent . now plant proteins like legumes and nuts/seeds are simply apart of the meal allowing other food groups such as vegetables fruits and grains taking more of a role. Even the government is rethinking the way our plates should be situated. On the government website My Plate it is shown that vegetables and fruits are shown to be of greater priority than the protein and has been a progressive change over previous versions.

A Look Into Protein

According to the National Cancer Institute Americans consume three times the meat than the global average.An average adult over the age of 19 should only be consuming 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So a person that weighs 150 pounds should only eat 54 grams of protein a day. But we still consume three times our recommended amount As a negative consequence Evidence has been shown for positive correlations between the consumptions of red, and processed meats and various cancers, such as stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. In a study conducted by The National Institute of Health five hundred thousand men and women. Their diets were observed and controlled to see if the consumption of red and processed meats can cause increase of the possibility of cancer.They concluded that red meat and processed can raise the chances of colorectal and lung cancer and even increase the chance death.They concluded one of the reasons why the increase of cancer exists is the fact meats can produce carcinogenic compounds such as HCAs and PAHs when cooked. The American cancer society made this statement “eating 50 grams of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week can increase your risk for colorectal cancer by 20%.”

Consuming Animal proteins may promote the risk of disease but they can also hinder you after the fact to. The Plant Powered Diet Estimated that 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to our livestock supply. But it’s not just antibiotics lie stock can be exposed to steroids and various hormones to. These antibiotics and hormones are used to promote rapid growth of the livestock animal while repelling any disease that comes to into contact with the live stock. The problem with that is that the antibiotics used in animals are nearly identical to the ones used in humans. So antibiotics like penicillin and tetracycline are fed to animals and through the process of biomagnification the antibiotics are exposed to us when we eat them. This can pose a risk to people that are fighting disease, infection or something a simple as acne do to the fact the body is less responsive to the antibiotics presented to to treat the condition. In an effort to reduce the amount of antibiotics the Federal government passed a law to have the FDA regulate the use of non therapeutic antibiotics on animals in the United States. Do to lack of antibiotic exposure people that lead a plant based life have better success with antibiotic treatments. This may be also supported since vegans tend to have a better immune systems and a healthier gut. This is usually due to the high fiber vegans get from eating plants which animal proteins lack. Another way to maintain a healthy immune system is to eat probiotic foods like miso, tempeh, and kimchi . Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts found in pickled and fermented foods that stay in the gut after consumed and improve health.

Animal proteins also help promote Obesity. According to the Ethical Veganism “Meateaters are 3 times more likely to be obese than vegetarians, and 9 times more likely than vegans. On average, vegans are 10–20 lb lighter than meateaters. Vegan diets promote higher metabolic rates, around 16 percent faster for vegans compared with meateaters.” One reasons why vegans and vegetarians have higher metabolisms is due to the types of protein we consume. With nuts seed and legumes there are natural fibers that come with them which allows the nutrients and waste to be passed through the body easily. On the contrary most animal Proteins contain little to no fiber. This produces the effect of not feeling filled after a meal allowing a person to consume portions over their bodily needs. The average male needs about 2,500 calories a day to maintain weight. With a diet high in animal protein people can go over their calorie needs and not get enough required nutrients like potassium, vitamin D, and fiber. The effect of high calories ,protein with little fiber can add up overtime for example a single serving of chicken wings can have up to 1,800 calories, 50 grams of trans fat, and 100 grams of protein in one serving and in a single event a person can easily go through one or two orders. You could compare this to a single single serving of lentils That has a 115 calories, a reasonable 9 grams of proteins, no saturated fats.The legume choice is clearly the better one. It doesn’t violate the recommended calorie count, it provides no negative trans fats and it doesn’t oversaturate the recommended amount of protein intake. Although veganism and vegetarianism are often praised for being healthy there are ways to go about the diet that would promote obesity rather than hinder it. It is completely possible for someone that is living a plant based diet to bad. They’re plenty of vegan and vegetarian junk foods like cookies, crackers,sodas,snacks,refined vegan meats/starches and plenty more. So even if your vegan or plant based it always important to read the ingredients and nutrition labels to ensure your leading a healthy life.

Veganism for Environmental Health

Animal agriculture is a big industry in the United states but it puts a strain on our land, water, and air resources. It is estimated that 70 Billion animals are raised and slaughtered for human consumption annually. in order to sustain that amount of populations its estimated around 33% of all inhabitable land belongs to livestock production. In order to feed the growing population of live stock ?…“ of all human grain production goes into the farming of livestock. In the U.S. alone 70% of our grain production goes to the producing livestock. It would would be safe to say we are wasting tons of one food source only to produce a smaller amount of another. In the span of 1 acre a farmer can produce up to 20,000 Apples , or 30,000 Carrots maybe even 40,000 Potatoes but only 250 cattle. The cattle industry has misused the land in other ways to overgrazing has been the number one cause desertification in the midwest were grasslands are being reduced to mere desert deadzone. Land and grain aren’t the only resources drawn from the production of meat The website EarthSave.org stated that To produce a single pound of beef “It takes 2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.” Where as the same amount of resources can be allocated to produce a higher amount of product and feed more people. Even though we live in a country where obesity levels are high and food is abundant we mustn’t forget that there are 1 billion people out there that are suffering from starvation. With increasing populations and with an increasing amount of people going hungry it is important that we shift our eating habit to a more plant based diet. With the shift in diets we can reduce the amount of hungry, reuse and repurpose lands used for grazing, stop the rise of co2 and methane emission, have cleaner waters,and a better earth.

Conclusion

In this essay i observed the facts to see if a vegan diet is the best for human health. As for direct human health there are many benefits that come from eating a plant based diet such as reduced risk to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But the thing is there are other diets that perform just as well as veganism such as the mediterranean diets that feature meats in its menu. The limiting factor here is that no one has conducted a successful long term study on the direct health effect of the vegan diet so known long term effect are completely established. But as for the sustainability of the earth and the human population the vegan option is the best choice as to livestock industry eating away at all of our resources to produce a most coveted commodity of today’s society. We are becoming a plague to the earth and me must stop it even if its one bite at a time.

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