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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2018 > EGAN

EGAN

The healthy way to try

Aglance at supermarket shelves and high-street restaurant menus reveals vegan eating is no longer the extreme choice of the few. Interest in a plant-based diet has captured the nation, for both health and ethical reasons. According to The Vegan Society, over half a million Brits followed a vegan diet in 2016 – three and half times more than a decade previously. And this year, 165,000 of us signed up to Veganuary (eating vegan in January) – that’s 50 times more than at the campaign launch five years ago! Of course, plant-based eating isn’t simply about cutting out foods. If you or someone in your family is planning to try it, here’s what you need to know for good health and maximum nutrition.

THE BENEFITS

Here are a few of the reasons to try eating a well balanced vegan diet. It can offer…

Better nutrition

Studies show vegan diets are often lower in saturated fat and contain more fibre, fruit and vegetables. While they’re lower in some nutrients such as calcium and vitamin B12 (see 5 Nutrition Musts, overleaf), they typically contain more magnesium, folate, vitamins C and E and, surprisingly, iron. Protection

against certain diseases

Research shows vegans are less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. And, in men, heart disease seems to be lower (not in women). One review of studies also found a 15% reduction in the incidence of cancer compared with omnivores.

Improved gut Health

Emerging research suggests the array of microorganisms that live in our digestive system is different in vegans, with more protective species and fewer of those that can cause disease.

Help with weight loss

Studies show vegan diets tend to be associated with lower body weights (but watch calories in some vegan products).

A cheaper way to eat

Many plant proteins are cheaper than animal proteins. For example, 100g Tesco Beef 15% fat Mince costs 50p; 100g can Tesco Red Kidney Beans in Water costs 21p.

Less damage to the environment

Producing meat uses more land and resources than producing crops, and this is thought to contribute to environmental problems such as deforestation, pollution, global warming and water scarcity.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Too busy to cook every day? Find out how the new calorie guidelines for eating on the go could stop you putting on weight (goodbye, coffee shop up-selling and unhealthy meal deals). We help you power up your walk to burn more fat and get more nutrition on your plate by pairing foods. Plus don't miss our 8-page guide to vegan eating - everything you need to know!
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