Veganism is more popular in the Western world than it has ever been before. In fact, in 2012, just 1% of the US population considered themselves vegan; 10 years later, in 2022, this figure rose to 3%. While it may not seem like a lot, this equates to upwards of 10 million Americans, and this figure is constantly increasing. That said, veganism is still a relatively new concept, as it wasn’t too long ago that we didn’t have the technology to replace some of the essential nutrients that are provided by animal products. Therefore, there are a number of Gen Zers and Millennials who are still on the face about making the leap to veganism and are weighing up the advantages and disadvantages.
While veganism may have skyrocketed in popularity, meat-eating is still a staple in a number of cultures. For instance, Qurbani 2023 is set to take place for Muslims. This involves an animal sacrifice, in which the meat is then distributed among the person performing Qurbani, their family and friends, and the poor and needy. Islam isn’t the only religion in which meat holds great significance, but if your belief system doesn’t oblige the consumption of animal products, you might consider veganism.
Advantage: It’s Better for Animal Welfare
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of veganism is that it’s better for the welfare of animals. This is because a vegan diet can help ensure that no animals are indirectly harmed or killed by you. As a result, the likelihood of animal abuse is reduced, and the need for large abattoirs is reduced. This tends to be the number one reason that pushes people to make the jump to veganism.
Disadvantage: Eating at Restaurants and Events Becomes More Difficult
Naturally, a vegan diet limits your option, as there will be a long list of foods that you’re not able to consume. The situation is better than it has ever been before for vegans in terms of restaurants, but most restaurants still only offer a limited selection of vegan-friendly meals. What’s more, independent places may not offer these options at all, meaning eating out requires more planning and research as a vegan than as an omnivore.
Advantage: It Can Help with Weight Loss
Red and processed meats are high in saturated fat, and dairy products are very high in fat, too. Since vegans aren’t able to eat these products, it can mean that veganism has the capacity to help with weight loss. This isn’t to say that ALL vegan food is healthy, but veganism does eliminate a number of unhealthy food options from your diet.
Disadvantage: It’s Not Recommended for Those with Health Complications
If your health isn’t quite up to scratch, your doctor may discourage you from a vegan diet. For instance, there are a number of health conditions that require more calcium than usual to maintain bone strength. Dairy is the number one source of calcium, meaning eliminating this from your diet could be detrimental to your well-being.
Advantage: Vegans Have a Reduced Risk of Illness
When it comes to illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, vegans are less likely to fall victim to these. This is because they’re not as likely to consume saturated fat, which is said to be a leading cause of these conditions. Similarly, the healthy diet that comes with veganism is said to encourage exercise.
Disadvantage: Vegan Diets Can Lack Essential Nutrients
Omega-3 fatty acids, b12, and calcium are so seldom found in plant-based foods, meaning it can be difficult to get all the nutrients required to lead a healthy lifestyle. Most vegans are forced to take supplements, which is both costly and inconvenient.
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