This is the first of a two-part series on vegan diets.
First thing is first… Let’s talk about the benefits.
One of the most common effects of going vegan is unintentional weight loss. That is, people tend to eat less calories without actively restricting because most of their foods shift from calorie-dense options to high water, high fiber, and high satiety plant foods. This has been shown in clinical research too: whole-food vegan diets are more satiating than whole-food ketogenic diets.
Improved insulin sensitivity and lower stress hormones
At least in the short-term, eating a higher carbohydrate diet helps keep insulin sensitivity high by reducing the amount of fat in the blood. It also lowers cortisol levels, which can help with insulin signaling.
Weight loss and lowered stress hormones improve sleep quality.
Better mineral status
Plants are a rich source of nearly every mineral, particularly potassium and magnesium. While some plant foods don’t supply certain minerals due to low bioavailability, this isn’t a universal theme. For example, spinach is high in oxalates that prevent calcium absorption, but kale is low in oxalates and has higher calcium bioavailability than milk. You just need to eat a diversity of plants.
Plants provide a diversity of fermentable and prebiotic fibers, as well as phytochemicals, that benefit the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestines, leading to the production of short-chain fatty acids and other beneficial metabolites.
In part 2, we’ll cover some of the detriments of eating vegan.
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