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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > February 2017 > Healthy tips to pinch from the VEGAN DIET (avoiding the pitfalls)

Healthy tips to pinch from the VEGAN DIET (avoiding the pitfalls)

It used to be niche, but as this plant-based diet goes mains tream, we pinpoint the health benefits – and potential nutrition pitfalls. Our guide shows you how to dip in, or go the whole way, including easy vegan recipes from the chefs at healthy fast-food chain Leon

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HIPPIES AND HASHTAGS, veganism became cool. In fact, the number of people in Britain switching to this way of eating has surged by 360% over the past decade. But is it good for our health? ‘Observational studies report vegans have significantly lower BMIs, along with cholesterol and glucose levels, compared with omnivores,’ says HFG nutrition editor Amanda Ursell. ‘But we can’t always make like-for-like comparisons as vegans may also be making other healthy lifestyle choices, such as limiting processed foods, not smoking or drinking alcohol.’

Centring any diet on fruit and veg, pulses, whole grains and unsaturated fats is undoubtedly healthy, but before simply removing meat, dairy and eggs from your plate you need to look out for crucial nutrition shortfalls. ‘If raising children on a vegan diet, also bear in mind that plant-based foods may contain fewer calories per gram,’ says Amanda. ‘We need to make sure children get enough energy from their daily diet, so if in doubt, seek help from a registered dietitian or registered nutritionist.’

THE HEALTH BENEFITS

Your five-a-day is a cinch Not relying on a meat or fish centre piece means you’re likely to go well beyond the recommended five-a-day quota, giving you extra fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants every day.

It’s a more filling diet A diet that contains plenty of fibre-rich pulses and beans, good fats from nuts and seeds, and protein from tofu makes for longer-lasting satiety as well as helping to stabilise blood sugars.

You’ll eat healthier fats The absence of processed meat or full-fat dairy foods means your diet is potentially lower in saturated fats. Eaten in sensible servings, healthier, unsaturated sources such as avocados, nuts and seeds, all contribute to good heart health.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Our experts explain how you can eat more and still lose weight, investigate the good gut diet that helps beat the bloat, and tell you how to follow a healthy vegan diet – or just steal the bits you like. Plus, our dietitian explores the benefits of protein powders, and we serve up a nutritious spread of tried, tasted and easy recipes for you to cook throughout the month. All this and more in February’s Healthy Food Guide.
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