What REALLY happens to the body when you go vegan? Dietitian reveals the health risks you should know before adopting the diet – and the step-by-step process to follow
- Rachel Hawkins said there are health benefits for your body on a vegan diet
- She said you need to do your research and ask why you are becoming a vegan
- There are also health risks if you don’t give your body everything that it needs
Australia is the third fastest country moving towards a vegan diet in the world.
And now The Naked Truth’s Rachel Hawkins, who is a dietitian and nutritionist, has revealed to FEMAIL what moving to a vegan diet can do to your body.
‘Transitioning from an omnivorous diet – a diet that includes meat and other animal products – to a vegan diet can be a difficult task, so it is important to ask yourself the reason why before making any change to your diet,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Revealed: The Naked Truth’s Rachel Hawkins (pictured), who is a dietitian and nutritionist, has revealed to FEMAIL what moving to a vegan diet can do to your body
She said that it is incredibly important to do your research before becoming vegan as there are factors such as nutrient levels and vitamin intake that need to be considered.
Ms Hawkins added that you also may want to reconsider transitioning to a vegan diet to lose weight, which can be a common reason for going vegan.
NUTRIENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Ms Hawkins said there are four key nutrients that can be of concern following a change to a vegan diet.
She listed these as iron, vitamin B12, calcium and omega-3 fat.
‘If a persons intake of these key nutrients decreases, then serious health concerns can arise overtime,’ she said.
‘I was a sex object to use’: Vegan blogger Freelee the…
Inside the extravagant skincare regime of a Japanese model -…
Dessert king and queen expand their empire from baked goods…
Adaptogens, collagen shakes and deodorant paste: The ten…
Share this article
Do your research: She said that it is incredibly important to do your research before becoming vegan as there are factors such as nutrient levels and vitamin intake that need to be considered. Pictured: One of Ms Hawkin’s vegan-friendly meals
The nutrients you need to consider on a vegan diet
- Iron carries oxygen around the body and deficiency can result in anaemia, which causes tiredness and poor concentration.
- People who follow a vegan diet can get enough iron through plant foods such as wholegrains and legumes.
- ‘However, the type of iron in plant foods (non-haem iron) is not as easily absorbed as that in animal foods (haem iron),’ Ms Hawkins said.
- She said you should include vitamin C-rich foods such as berries, broccoli and tomatoes.
- Ms Hawkins also advised not to drink tea and coffee with your meals as they can block the body’s absorption of non-haem iron.
- This is important for keeping your nervous system healthy and is needed for the synthesis of DNA and fatty acids.
- Deficiency in this can cause issues in your gut, neurological and haematological, which can cause tiredness, tingling in hands and feet as well as memory loss.
- It’s only found naturally in animal products, and so it is important to take supplements for this or eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 such as some cereals, according to Ms Hawkins.
- Calcium is essential for developing and maintaining strong bones, as well as your heart, muscle, blood and nerves and deficiency can decrease bone density.
- ‘Because a vegan diet does not include dairy products, it is important to include other calcium-rich foods,’ Ms Hawkins said.
- ‘Some good plant sources of calcium are calcium-fortified soy or almond milks, hard tofu, almonds, unhulled tahini (sesame seed paste) and green leafy vegetables like kale and Asian greens including bok choy and Chinese broccoli.’
- This is a healthy fat which is important for eye, nerve and brain development.
- The body can’t produce omega-3 fat itself and so it is needed through food, and typically through marine sources such as oily fish as plant-based options have lower levels.
- ‘Plant sources of omega-3 fats include linseeds/flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, soy bean oil and canola oil,’ she said.
- ‘Vegan marine omega-3 fat supplements are also available.
Ms Hawkins said that planning is essential when it comes to a vegan diet and can sometimes be overwhelming.
She recommended slowly taking yourself off of animal products such as Meat Free Mondays as this will make the transition easier.
‘Vegan diets are more complex than just simply eating more plant foods. They require planning and discipline and present many social challenges, especially when it comes to eating out or attending social gatherings,’ she said.
However with more restaurants offering vegan options she said it is easier than ever before to make the change.
Plan ahead: Ms Hawkins said that planning is essential when it comes to a vegan diet and can sometimes be overwhelming
Ms Hawkins said it is important not to forget about your gut health when making the change to veganism.
She said that because vegan diets by nature are plant-based, this means they are higher in fibre.
‘Increasing your fibre intake too quickly can cause stomach irritation such as bloating, excess wind and constipation, so increase your intake of plant-based foods slowly and remember to drink lots of water to help reduce these potential side effects,’ she said.
Think about your stomach: She said that because vegan diets by nature are plant-based, this means they are higher in fibre which can cause irritation. Pictured: One of Ms Hawkin’s vegan-friendly meals
Ms Hawkins said that if implemented correctly, a vegan diet can have health benefits such as reduced blood pressure, decrease in heat disease and type-2 diabetes due to the fact it is rich in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and low saturate fats.
She said fruit and vegetables are low in energy but have high levels of fibre, vitamins and minerals – all which help to maintain healthy weight, reduce blood pressure and lower cholestrol.
‘They also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties,’ she said, revealing this can help protect from inflammatory related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
However whether veganism is the superior diet is unclear at this stage, she said.
She added that claims the diet improves energy and mood are not yet supported by research.
It is also unclear how long it will take someone to experience the benefits.
What veganism can do for you: Ms Hawkins said that if implemented correctly, a vegan diet can have health benefits such as reduced blood pressure, decrease in heat disease and type-2 diabetes due to the fact it is rich in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and low saturate fats. Pictured: One of Ms Hawkin’s vegan-friendly meals
Ms Hawkins said that there are health benefits to any diet comes down to what is on your plate.
She said you don’t need to label yourself as vegan to gain them, but cut down on processed food and have more plant-based foods.
‘Finally, my advice for those wanting to adopt a vegan diet is to do your research, know your ‘why’ and seek the help of a nutrition professional to support your safe transition to a vegan lifestyle,’ she said.
Rachel Hawkins’ Instagram can be found here.
Source: Read Full Article