Pure plant food diet followers has benefited from the meal plan such as in reducing their risks of heart diseases and certain types of cancer, and it has even helped them reduce weight. However, though it is undoubtedly a healthy form of diet, there are several nutrients that vegans can’t get from their eating habit that the body needs to meet in certain levels.
Here are some of the nutrients that pure plant food diet followers couldn't get from the eating habit.
An antioxidant crucial for muscle function can only be found in animal food sources. High levels of carnosine in muscles can reduce fatigability and boost performance.
The body can also produce carnosine from amino acids namely beta-alanine and histidine, however, vegans show low levels of carnosine than meat eaters, according to studies.
The compound can be obtained from red meat and fish, and can be the body’s energy reserve. It is usually stored in the muscles that makes it easily accessible for muscle cells to utilize for endurance and strength.
Though not significantly essential to diet since the liver can produce creatine, studies have revealed that vegans have low creatine levels in their muscles.
For instance, one study found a decreased creatine levels in people’s muscles after placing them in lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet for a matter of 26 days.
Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that vegans lack compared to meat eaters. It is mainly obtained from fish, and it is essential for normal development of the brain.
Inadequate amounts of DHA especially in children can negatively affect their brain function and mental health. In pregnant women, low levels of DHA can be detrimental to the fetus’ brain development.
Heme iron can only be acquired when consuming red meat. This type of iron is better absorbed in the body than non-heme iron found in plant diets.
Anemia can be the consequence of insufficient iron intake. Although vegans can avoid this since plant foods contain non-heme iron, they are still more prone to iron deficiency than those who eat meat.
The sulfur compound can only be found in dairy products, meat, poultry and seafoods. It aids the body in its antioxidant defenses, formation of bile salts and muscle function.
As studies have shown, meat eaters have significantly high amounts of taurine than vegetarians. Though the compound is considered non-essential to diet, dietary taurine might just play an important role in maintaining the body’s taurine deposits.
Also known as cobalamin, Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin essential in producing red blood cells. It also helps maintain normal brain and nerve function.
Cobalamin is an essential nutrient that only animal food sources can yield such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Studies have found that vegetarians are at increased risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency without animal-sourced foods in their diet or supplements.
Vitamin D is commonly known to be acquired from healthy sun exposure but a certain dietary type of this essential vitamin known as cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3 is found in fish and eggs.
Since Vitamin D3 are not sourced from plants, vegetarians may be at risk of the vitamin deficiency. Generally, Vitamin D shortage may result to reduced strength, muscle weakness and risk of bone deformities or fractures to name a few.