Dr Aidin Rawshani

Vegan diet: how to eat, benefits, risks, effects, recipes


Vegan food

Veganism involves refritting from the use of animal products, especially in the diet. Some argue that there are several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (also known as strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat, but also eggs, dairy products and other animal substances.

The term ethical vegan (also known as moral vegetarian) is often applied to those who not only adhere to a vegan diet, but extend philosophy to other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is environmental veganism, which refers to the avoidance of animal products provided that industrial livestock farming is environmentally harmful and unsustainable.

Well-planned vegan diets are considered suitable for all stages of life, including during childhood and pregnancy. You can get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet.

The attitude towards the vegan diet is gradually changing, especially among people with diabetes. Can people with diabetes use a vegan diet to improve blood sugar control? – Absolutely.

By eating a healthy vegan diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat, but balanced enough to include fiber and protein, blood sugar levels can improve and become easier to control.

This type of diet, especially in combination with exercise, can help lower blood sugar levels and simplify the management of diabetes.

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet involves refritting from meat, dairy and animal products.

Vegan diets, whether they are for people with diabetes or not, are usually based around plants. Special foods ingested include vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes.

Animal products such as meat and dairy products are avoided, as well as the addition of fat and sugar. People on vegan diets often take vitamin B12 dietary supplements. If you do not plan your diet properly, you may miss out on important nutrients, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12.

Is a vegan diet difficult to follow for people with diabetes?

Eating a vegan diet requires some compromise, but getting the right diabetes recipes and planning your diet well will make it easy to follow a vegan diet for people with diabetes. When planning your vegan diet, you need to make sure that protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are balanced.

Examples of a healthy vegan diet

  • Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables each dayBase
  • Meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (choose whole grains if possible)
  • Some dairy options, such as soy and yogurt (choose lower fat content and lower sugar options)
  • Consume more beans, lentils and others proteins
  • Choose unsaturated oils and in small quantities
  • Drink plenty of fluids (the government recommends 6 to 8 cups or glasses a day)

Foods that You Should Avoid

Vegans avoid eating animal foods, as well as all foods containing ingredients derived from animals. These include:

  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, organ meat, game meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, etc.
  • Fish and seafood: All kinds of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, squid, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
  • Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
  • Eggs: From chicks, ostriches, fish etc.
  • Bee products: Honey, etc.
  • Animal based ingredients: whey, casein, lactose, egg white egg white, gelatin, L-cysteine, animal vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

Foods that You Can Eat

  • Tofu: Provides a protein-rich alternative to meat, fish and eggs in many recipe.
  • Legumes: Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
  • Nuts and nut butter: Especially unroasted varieties, which are also good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.
  • Seeds: Especially chia and flax seeds, which contain a good amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Calcium enriched plant milk and yogurt: These help vegans to achieve their recommended diet calcium intake. Choose varieties that are also enriched with vitamins B12 and D whenever possible.
  • Nutritional yeast: This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegan dishes and add an interesting cheesy taste. Pick vitamin B12-enriched varieties whenever possible.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Both are a great food to increase your nutritional intake. Leafy greens such as beech choy, spinach, kale, watercress and mustard greens are especially high in iron and calcium.´´

Different types of vegan diets

  • Regular vegan diet: A diet based on a wide range of plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • A vegan diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or plant foods cooked at temperatures below 48 °C degrees
  • 80/10/10: The diet 80/10/10 is a vegan diet that limits fat-rich plants such as nuts and avocados and is based mainly on raw fruits and vegetables.

Does a vegan diet cause weight loss?

Many people with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, try to lose weight. Weight loss is one of the best ways to achieve control over their diabetes disease. Vegan diet most often includes products with a lower glycemic index and a higher level of fiber, which is an excellent way to lose weight and lose unnecessary fat mass.

Vegan diet, blood sugar and diabetes

Studies show that those people who follow a vegan diet, avoid meat and dairy products, lower their blood sugar levels very effectively and experience a significant weight loss. Scientists have proved that people with diabetes who eat a vegan diet also lower their cholesterol levels and improve kidney function.

Adopting a vegan diet can help keep your blood sugar in check. Several studies show that vegans have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity and up to 78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-vegans.

A vegan diet lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics up to 2.4 times more than several other recommended diets.

This may be due to the increased intake of fibres that do not significantly affect blood sugar levels.

Other health benefits of vegan food

  • Cancer risk: Vegans may have a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer.
  • Arthritis: Vegan diets seem particularly effective in reducing symptoms of joint inflammation (arthritis) such as pain, joint swelling and morning stiffness.
  • Kidney function: Individuals with diabetes that replaces meat against plant protein can reduce the risk of developing poor kidney function in the future.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Observatory studies show that aspects of vegan diet can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Remember that several of the studies that have observed these health benefits are observational population studies. This makes it difficult to determine whether the vegan diet directly caused the benefits.

Randomized controlled trials are needed before clear conclusions can be drawn.

Vegan diet and pregnancy

During pregnancy and lactation, women who follow a vegan diet must ensure that they receive enough vitamins and minerals to enable their children to develop healthy.

If you cook vegan food for your children, you need to make sure that they receive a wide range of foods to provide the energy and vitamins they need for growth.

Consider calcium and vitamin D in vegan diet

Calcium is needed for strong and healthy bones, as well as teeth. Non-vegans get most of their calcium from dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt), but vegans can get it from other foods.

Examples of foods with calcium for vegans

  • Green leafy vegetables — such as broccoli and cabbage, but not spinach
  • Enriched unsweetened soy, rice and oat drinks
  • Tofu
  • Sesame seeds and Tahini
  • Brown and white bread (in most Western countries add calcium to white and brown flour)
  • Dried fruits, such as raisins, prunes, figs and dried apricots

The body needs vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

Examples of foods with iron for vegans

  • Whole grain bread and flour
  • Breakfast cereal enriched with iron
  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as watercress and broccoli
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and figs

The body also needs vitamin B12 for the blood and nervous system to function as usual. Vitamin B12 is the easiest to consume via dietary supplements.

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