HomeHealth articlesveganismWhat Are the Effects of a Vegan Diet on Health?

Benefits of a Vegan Diet

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This article will cover the details of the vegan diet, its types, and its benefits mainly related to health.

Written by

Dr. Zeba Jabeen

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Published At September 20, 2022
Reviewed AtSeptember 29, 2022

What Is a Vegan Diet?

The word ''vegan'' has become a trend that we frequently hear. Yet, in the mid-twentieth century, the term was coined in 1944 by some people in England, and the Vegan Society was set up. A vegan diet is a part of the broader concept of ''veganism'' which has lately come into existence. Veganism means avoiding animal-based products in all forms, such as food, apparels, cosmetics, etc.

A vegan diet involves excluding the food items obtained from animals like meat, dairy products, honey, etc., and depending entirely on plant-based foods. A vegan diet includes food products like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds, spices, herbs, soy products, etc.

What Are the Different Types of a Vegan Diet?

People have different choices in following a vegan diet, and accordingly, it is divided as follows:

  1. Raw Vegan Diet: It includes plant-based foods that are raw or prepared at temperatures lower than 48℃.

  2. Whole-food Vegan Diet: It consists of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc.

  3. Low-fat Raw Food Vegan Diet: In this, the food intake is limited to mostly fruits, and high-fat foods are avoided.

  4. Flexitarian Diet: In a flexitarian diet, non-vegetarian food items are eliminated, plant-based products are eaten, and occasionally some animal products.

Why Do People Go for a Vegan Diet?

People adopt a vegan diet due to a myriad of reasons. Most of them are associated with human health, but there are a few others, which are as follows:

  • Ethical: Vegans strongly believe in fulfilling the rights of all living creatures, including animals. Their notion of not misusing the animals in any form for human welfare strictly prohibits them from using any of the animal products like food items, their skin for clothes, silk, etc.

The caging of animals at farms, artificially making them reproduce their young ones, and slaughtering them for human consumption are some of the practices which exploit the animals, so ethically going for veganism is a step towards exercising basic ethics.

  • Environmental: With the overproduction of animals through artificial methods to meet the demands of human beings in different ways, the ecological pyramid might get disturbed soon. Due to the exponential rise in the animal population, there is increased deforestation because of the introduction of large-scale animal farms and the decreasing water table level.

Animal feed also requires vast lands and enormous resources, which hamper the available stock of natural resources.

  • Antibiotic Usage: The overuse of antibiotics on farm animals has led to the development of resistance to many antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is one of the critical life-threatening issues that the healthcare industry is highly concerned about. The vegan diet, in the long term, can help in dealing with this problem.

What Are the Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet?

The vegan diet comes with bountiful benefits, mainly related to health. The various advantages of adopting a vegan diet are listed below:

  • A balanced vegan diet is a good source of essential nutrients and consists of plant-based foods like grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is also rich in fiber and antioxidants.

  • A vegan diet contains phytochemicals and antioxidants and has prevented severe health problems like cancer. Studies have claimed that when compared to non-vegans, vegans tend to have an increased amount of carotenoids, total omega-3 fatty acids, and decreased quantity of saturated fats, which lowers the chances of developing cancer. Whereas consuming high-fat dairy products regularly may lead to breast cancer and prostate cancer.

  • Vegan foods are low in calories and contain less saturated fats, so it is easy to maintain a healthy body weight. Studies also say that non-vegans have a higher body mass index than vegans.

  • A vegan diet also includes plenty of micronutrients and fiber, enhancing gut function. Decreased quantity of sulfur in plant products mainly helps people with gut problems. Good gut health further improves digestion, immune system, dermatologic, sexual, and mental health.

  • A vegan diet helps control blood glucose levels and aids in preventing type-2 diabetes by 78 %, and decreases the chances of other associated factors.

  • A vegan diet contains high quantities of fiber which prevents constipation and decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, and bowel cancer.

  • A vegan diet has proved favorable in lowering blood pressure. A study in the Journal of Hypertension claimed that people who consume plant-based foods have a 34 % reduced risk of hypertension.

  • Plant-based foods help decrease the severity of the manifestations of obesity, arthritis, and neurological issues like Alzheimer's disease.

  • The vegan diet also checks the lipid profile by lowering the LDL levels up to 25 %.

  • A vegan diet is also a source of butyrate, which helps in averting inflammation and improves digestive and cognitive health. Probiotic foods like fermented vegetables and non-dairy yogurts increase nutrient absorption and decrease inflammation.

  • Avoiding dairy products and consuming vegan products rich in vitamins and antioxidants enhances dermatological health.

  • According to a study in the Journal of American Heart Association, a strict vegan diet aids in increasing the lifespan of a person by reducing the chances of all causative mortality factors by 25 %.

Who Is Not Fit For a Vegan Diet?

There are certain conditions in which a vegan diet is not considered helpful; instead, it worsens them, so it is advised not to take it up in those conditions. They are as follows:

  • Regular use of a vegan diet in patients with severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable bowel disease (IBD) may aggravate their symptoms. However, vegan products can be consumed occasionally.

  • A vegan diet may not be safe in conditions that require a particular diet as per the body's needs, like in severe cases of anemia.

  • A vegan diet may be challenging to manage in people with poor kidney functions and those on dialysis.

  • A vegan diet is not recommended for allergies and intolerances to specific foods such as celiac disease, nut allergy, etc.

  • Patients afflicted with genital herpes are suggested to take foods low in arginine. In contrast, a vegan diet is naturally rich in arginine, so it should be avoided entirely in such patients.

  • A vegan diet is also calcium-deficient, so high calcium replacements and vegan foods fortified with calcium should be eaten for diseases like osteoporosis.


The vegan diet is gaining momentum due to its plethora of benefits for the environment, ethics, the healthcare industry, and human health. Opting for a vegan lifestyle and mainly the vegan diet has become easy now, with abundant choices available among plant-based food items. Yet, the vegan diet has some limitations, so it is not fit for all to embrace. A doctor's consultation and a planned individual diet chart by a registered dietician will help in making the best use of it without causing any adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is It Healthy to Be Vegan?

A vegan diet is healthy as it has significantly higher amounts of fiber and lower cholesterol when compared to those omnivore diets. Also, major studies have demonstrated that vegan diets could decrease the risk and possibility of certain developing heart diseases, cancer, and premature death. A vegan diet can also help individuals manage type 2 diabetes. One claim is that vegan diets could lack certain nutrients.


Is the Vegan Diet the Healthier One?

A large group of healthcare providers and nutritionists regard vegan diets as healthy diets. Certain studies have shown that vegan diets give higher antioxidants, fibers, and beneficial plant compounds. Vegan diets can be beneficial in the following ways.

- Promote weight loss.

- Decrease the risk of heart disease effectively by reducing cholesterol levels.

- Reduce the risk of cancer, including colon cancer.


What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages Associated With Vegan Diet?

The following are the potential advantages and disadvantages, as well as the pros and cons of a vegan diet.


- Vegan diets help reduce the risk of illnesses and cancer.

- It can aid in weight loss.

- The vegan diet is good for animal welfare.


- Vegan diets could lack certain essential nutrients.

- Following a vegan diet in individuals with certain health conditions is not recommended.

- It is hard for vegans to get the right foods at events and restaurants.


Is It Good to Go Vegan?

Many medical research studies show a relationship between a vegan diet and reduced cholesterol levels. So, the health benefits of a vegan diet include lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and rate of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Going vegan is considered a good opportunity to learn more about nutrition while improving the quality of the diet. A well-planned vegan diet could enhance healthy living for individuals of all ages.


What Are the Three Significant Negatives of a Vegan Diet?

People who are following a firm and strict vegan diet are at a heightened risk of depression. This is because the vegan diet possesses a marked decline in omega-3 fatty acids (the vital constituent of fish and fish oils). The other effects observed in people solely following a vegan diet include:

- Hair loss.

- Weakened bones.

- Muscle wastage.

- Skin rashes.

- Anemia.

- Hypothyroidism.


Where Do Vegans Acquire Protein?

A vegan diet is a plant-based diet that paramountly excludes all animal products including dairy, eggs, and meat. So, a vegan could get protein from seeds, grains, nuts, legumes, and peanut butter. Other products like soymilk and tofu also contribute to proteins. But vegans must consider taking appropriate complete proteins. A complete protein incorporates all the amino acids the body requires to maintain metabolism.


Is Honey Considered Vegan?

Veganism is known for its plant food sources, not including animal products like dairy, meat, and eggs. Honey is something controversial among vegans. Bees typically make honey for the bees. Moreover, when humans harvest honey, the health of bees could be sacrificed. Consequently, harvesting honey is not associated with the definition of the vegan diet in its society.


Which Age Is Correct to Be a Vegan?

Plant-based diets like vegan diets are considered safe and healthy for all stages of life, right from children and pregnant women to older adults. Any or all age is the best age to follow a vegan diet or become a vegan. One might follow a vegan diet at any event since it is good for the health, environment, and animals. For kids, there is no set age for the child to start a vegan approach. It can be followed at any age.


What Are Considered Unhealthy Vegan Foods?

The vegans following vegan diets mostly want to improve their health. Though it is plant-based, They should stick to minimally processed food sources while restricting the use of the following unwanted foods since these contain added sugar and fats equivalent to non-vegan sources:

- Vegan junk food.

- Candy.

- Cookies.

- Ice cream.

- Chips.

- Sauces.


Is Following Vegan Expensive?

A vegan diet is typically a plant-based diet without animal products. Eating or following a vegan diet is not expensive like the traditional diet containing meat and dairy products. However, the vegan diet concentrates on whole foods rather than processed commercial alternatives. So, it is not expensive to be or change into a vegan because plant-based foods cost markedly less.


Is Paneer Loaded With Protein?

Paneer can be a good alternative to chicken in vegan and other plant-based diets. Paneer is a good and rich source of casein protein. One hundred grams of protein contains about 18 grams, while one full egg has only about seven grams. Both tofu and paneer are rich protein sources and are generally used in almost all vegetarian diets.


Is It Difficult to Be a Vegan?

Many individuals suspect that going or taking vegan needs hardships and more willpower. But the fact is just opposite to the thought. Going vegan is an easy process and does not require sacrifice and other things. But being a vegan in events and restaurants can be high. One can eliminate the hon-vegetarian food sources at an early stage by crowding.


Can Vegans Take Curd?

A vegan diet does not constitute animal products such as dairy, eggs, and meat. But vegans have curd, as every individual does. One can make vegan curd using cashews, sesame, rice, coconut, and other plant-based milk. Also, one can have commercial soy and rice yogurt as a substitute for dairy curd.


Which Diet Is Healthier, Vegetarian or Vegan?

Vegan or plant-based diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol, heart disease rate, cancer risk, and type 2 diabetes. Being vegan can bring more health benefits about heart health, BMI, and other important aspects. Vegan and vegetarian diets are considered healthy diet choices.


Can Vegans Take Chocolates?

Yes, vegans can take chocolate, but they need to choose. Chocolates are typically made from cocoa beans from cocoa trees. This shows that chocolate is a plant-based food. But vegans should consider avoiding milk-based commercial chocolates. A higher percentage or proportion of dark chocolates are considered vegan. Also, high-quality pure chocolates are vegan.

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Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



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