Vegan diet is a diet that does not include the consumption of animal fats and protein. A typical vegan diet normally consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, tofu and beans. If you can recall that it is suggested for us to take different proportions different classes of foods (carbohydrate, proteins, vitamins, minerals and so on), then you might wonder how can a vegan diet supply us with all these nutrients (especially protein). Not to worry as protein can be obtained from legumes (such as tofu and beans) and grains (such as rice and corn). Also, with proper planning can help you achieve healthiness and satisfy the needs of body. On the other hand, it is known that poorly planned vegan diets can cause deficiencies in our certain classes of foods.
What benefits does becoming a vegan bring? The first and most obvious advantage of becoming a vegan is that the diet consists of rich fibre, low levels of cholesterol and saturated fats, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure and stroke as well as prostate and colon cancer. For instance, eggs are believed to contain the highest amounts of cholesterol compared to any other food, thus making them the leading contributor to cardiovascular diseases. In support to this, the American Dietetic Association has reported that vegan diets do reduce the risk to these diseases. Perhaps more adults are nowadays on a vegan diet because it is cheaper as well as safer compared to meat eaters. A good example to explain this would be fish which is a great source for omega-3 oils and aids in the development of the brain and nervous system, but consuming fish puts yourself at risk as it might contain mercury.
As mentioned earlier, poorly planned vegan diets can cause deficiencies in calcium, iodine, vitamin D and vitamin B12 (which are naturally occuring in animals) requirements. Deficiencies in these nutrients increase the risk of you getting bone fractures, rickets, cretinism and anemia. The Vegan Society in United Kingdom has dismissed claims that vegan diets are healthier than meat eaters. Some studies have also shown that pregnant women on vegan diets have smaller babies, they tend to grow smaller and are developmentally retarted (temporarily or permanently).
Thus, in conclusion, vegan diets are suitable for adults for a healthier diet, but for babies and children, it is not advisable as essential nutrients for development are missing.