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Vegan Diets: Healthy Or Harmful? Essay

929 words - 4 pages

People choose a vegetarian lifestyle for many reasons. Health, environment, culture, religion and ethics are all factors that play into the decision to not eat meat. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products (Vegetarian Resource Group). As veganism becomes more popular as a lifestyle and as a means of weight loss there has become a great amount of debate as to whether or not this type of diet is considered healthy or harmful because it has the potential to lack important vitamins, minerals and of course protein.
The vegan diet can be a very healthy way of life. There have been some research studies that have shown vegans are significantly lower in weight, they have lower blood pressure and lower levels of cholesterol than normal vegetarians and meat eaters. These health benefits are apparent because vegans consume more dietary fiber, about two to three times more than their meat-eating counter parts, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol, blood glucose levels and protect against colon cancer. Their diets are higher in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E and the health-promoting phytochemicals which have all been proven to reduce the risk for heat disease, arthritis, prostate and other cancers, and may improve bone health (Vegetarian Diet). Vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers because they consume such high levels of plant foods (Vegan Diets: The Pros and Cons). Whatever the reasoning becoming vegan can be a very healthy way of life. My sister has been a vegetarian for seventeen years and feels that it was one of the best decisions in her life. She made this choice at thirteen years of age and at that time it was because she did not believe in cruelty towards animals. Now, staying a vegetarian for her is still about doing her part to reduce cruelty towards animals but it has also become a health conscious decision and her body has shown her that it prefers to be meat free. She has been a vegetarian for this many years but to varying degrees, when she first started it was only about cutting out any source of meat, but as time went on she made the decision to become vegan, for my sister this was a bad decision because it was more of an attempt to keep her weight in control. This decision to enter into this type of lifestyle led her to basically become anorexic because she consumed such a small variety of foods and she ate very little. This and many other reasons are why people still believe that veganism can be harmful to your health.
Critics point out that vegans...

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