What are vegan products?
veganism is a lifestyle, practice, philosophy or type of diet, as determined by the individual following this type of eating pattern, in which the person abstains from eating animal products.
Vegans do not consume any products or derivatives derived from animals, including eggs, dairy products such as cheese or milk, and of course, meat and fish.
All vegan products must have at least one seal or certification provided by the European Union and strict quality standards, which guarantee that the product or article does not contain any animal components.
More and more people are interested in changing their eating habits and diets that include animal products to a vegan, or sometimes as a transition, vegetarian lifestyle.
The increasing popularity of the vegan diet has had a positive impact on the food industry due to the growing number of vegan products and options.
Is vegan food healthy?
Yes, the vegan diet is one more type of food option in which people are free to choose the products they consume or not according to their origin.
As long as all macronutrients and micronutrient requirements such as vitamins and minerals are met, does not usually present contraindications. Although it can cause deficiencies of certain vitamins, such as B12, it is easy to find products that have been enriched with it or supplements that contribute to the supply of the dose that the body needs.
The vegan diet is usually based on fresh, plant-based foods. As a general recommendation, before consuming a vegan product, it is recommended to read the labelling to ensure that it is proportionally or wholly healthy.
What determines whether a product is healthy or not is the quality of the ingredients and the manufacturing or production process used.
One factor to take into account is that products such as sugar, starches, refined and hydrogenated vegetable fats, despite being ingredients of vegetable origin and therefore suitable for vegetarian diets, are not recommended in excess as they can have a negative impact on health.
What are vegan products for?
Vegan people , have specific needs because those products suitable for this lifestyle and food should not come from or have any ingredient in which the life of an animal is involved.
Unlike vegetarians, vegetarians do consume animal products such as dairy products and eggs, because they do not involve the death of an animal. All vegan products are suitable for vegetarians.
All vegan products facilitate this lifestyle: allow people to find alternatives that are just as suitable in terms of taste and nutritional values , with all the guarantees that they contain nothing of animal origin.
Adherence to a vegan eating style is essential in order to properly maintain the values and fight against the consumption of animal products: the breadth of variety makes it easier to follow this type of diet over time.
Although there are nutritional differences, e.g. in vitamins as well as certain amino acids that can be obtained mainly only from animal sources, products enriched with these compounds such as vitamin B12 or certain amino acids are becoming increasingly popular.
Over the years, the variety of options has increased and, increasingly, even consumed by people who do not consider themselves vegans or vegetarians for their delicious flavours and textures.
The benefits of a vegan diet
- Studies conducted by the American Dietetic Association have shown that a vegan diet is nutritionally beneficial in preventing the onset of multiple diseases.
- It is healthy for children and pregnant women who meet all nutritional requirements.
- Contributes to weight loss and weight regulation
- The fibre intake from the vegan diet is often increased, resulting in improved gastrointestinal health and avoiding constipation. It also provides greater satiety , which contributes to the previous point.
- Contributes to the prevention of different types of cancer, such as breast, stomach, colon and prostate cancer.
- Cardiovascular diseases are prevented and cholesterol is lowered due to the lower fat intake.
- Provides high amounts of antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and vitamins A, C and E.
- It may have numerous benefits for people suffering from diabetes because it contributes to and has been shown in studies to help lower blood sugar levels naturally.
- Contributes to the care of animals and their non-use as food.
What foods do vegans eat?
- Seitan : is made from wheat and looks brown when cooked similar to meat.
- Tofu : is a by-product that originates from China and comes from the fermentation of soybeans. It is one of the most widely consumed foods because it is an excellent source of protein and has a neutral taste that allows it to be combined in many recipes.
- Legumes : help to achieve the complete aminogram in combination with other sources such as cereals. They provide protein and carbohydrates.
- Cereals : provide carbohydrates and are complemented with legumes or nuts to provide different amino acids and improve the quality of the total protein.
- Seeds : which provide the sources of fatty acids that the body needs for proper functioning and regulation.
- Vegetables : which provide vitamins and minerals and are a source of fibre.
- Pea, soy, spirulina, chia, rice protein supplements ...: there are a large number of vegan protein supplements, which have been obtained from various sources. We can find those designed with only 1 source or others that combine several and thus improve the aminogram.
What should vegans supplement with?
The vegan diet is healthy as long as all nutrients are provided correctly, either through supplementation or by consuming fortified foods.
Proteins : it is important, when avoiding meat and fish which are major sources of this macronutrient, to ensure a correct daily protein intake, especially in active sportsmen and women who must maintain and repair muscle tissue damaged during training. They provide essential amino acids, and it is important to choose sources that contain all , or different combinations to achieve the right aminogram. Some of the most difficult amino acids to find are lysine and methionine.
One option is to use vegan protein supplements , which combine different sources such as soya, peas, chia etc. or make combinations with different sources of cereals and legumes such as quinoa, rice or even nuts.
Vitamin B12 : is a type of vitamin of the B group that can only be found in animal products and must be provided regularly and rigorously. It helps to maintain a correct state of neurons and blood cells. It is advisable to choose either products that have already been fortified with B12 or a vitamin B12 dietary supplement that should be taken regularly.
Calcium : is a mineral of great importance that is found in abundant quantities in dairy products. In those of vegetable origin, it can be found in soya, different seeds, tofu and various other fruits and vegetables.
The differences between a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet
There is one main difference between people who follow a vegan diet and those who follow a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarians , are those who eliminate meat, poultry or fish and their by-products from their food range. Unlike vegans, they maintain the consumption of dairy products and eggs.
The vegetarian diet is wide in the variety of patterns that can be acquired, since this term encompasses all diets that conform to the above, and with its modifications, such as those of people who, despite removing the meat, continue to include fish.
Vegans are people who do not consume any animal products, including the elimination of eggs, dairy products, honey, etc. For many, being vegan is more than a diet and eating pattern, it is a philosophy of life in which all kinds of products are avoided, from textiles to cosmetics in which animals have been tested and interacted with in any way that could harm them.
Is a vegan diet suitable for athletes?
Yes, an athlete can follow a vegan diet without complications. Thanks to the evolution of the sector, it is possible to find products that can be used as sources of protein and that help to gain muscle mass. Performance is not usually diminished as long as the correct intake of vitamins, such as b12 and iron, is provided.