It seems like one of the last few remaining forms of prejudice is to bash on vegans. They really do get a bad rap with everyone seeming to have it in for them. Could they have the last laugh? The one as they are standing over your grave? The versed investigates whether or not cutting out animal products can extend your life.
What is a vegan and why
Well, basically human beings traditionally are omnivorous. That means that they eat both meat and plants or rather meat and plant-based foods. Some animals are carnivores meaning that they eat solely meat and some are herbivores who eat only plants.
Vegans, like their vegetarian counterparts, adopt a herbivore approach. But unlike vegetarians they won’t eat products produced by animals such as milk and cheese.they will also try and avoid using products made from animals. Like leather clothes, for instance.
Just a phase
It would appear that veganism isn’t just a fad. In the past ten years, their numbers have swollen. In the United States, their ranks have grown from 0.5% to 2.5% of the population. However, it is safe to say that it is a more popular choice for women than men. Of that population 79% are women.
Why do they do this?
Most vegans will make the decision due to a mix of moral or health reasons. The morality behind veganism is certainly interesting. I know vegans who have no issue with the killing of an animal to eat but don’t eat meat based on the appaling conditions that the animals are kept in. However, that is a subject for another day. For now, let’s take a look at the health benefits, more specifically are there any.
There are pros and cons to a vegan diet. It isn’t perfect but let’s examine the positives. Studies have shown that in general vegans tend to be leaner than their omnivorous counterparts. On average they have a lower BMI. All those jokes about vegans being like skeletons, it is because they tend to weigh less.
Some of the health benefits are a reduction in the risks of heart disease and stroke. These are all conditions that have an association with weight gain so it’s perhaps no surprise. In the same sort of bracket, vegans suffer less from hypertension.
Not quite what you think
These findings may come as little surprise to you. For the longest time, red meat was associated with conditions like the ones aforementioned. However, more recent studies have revealed that the saturated fats and red meats on their own do not lead to these conditions and rather it is processed meats that are the issue.
Interestingly evolutionary science has suggested that part of the reason human brains developed as well as they have is due to the fact that people had a surplus of protein in their diet. It’s worth noting though that there are plenty of sources of protein a vegan can use. But oddly studies have shown that the muscle mass for omnivores is slightly better than for vegans. Even if their protein levels are identical.
Vitamins and minerals
Finally, despite the fact, vegans tend to be more likely to get their five a day, their diet does require supplements. B-12 and Omega 3 are particularly hard to get from a diet without meat and fish. However, these are easily supplemented. While it is clear then that there are health benefits that come with veganism, will you live longer? Well, there are no hard stats to back it up either way, but it seems to stand to reason that less heart disease means more chance you will just get hit by a bus, right?