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episode #329

Feed Your Fitness: Navigating the Risks of Vegan Eating

February 12, 2024 in Podcast


This week I discuss a review article regarding the current literature on the impact and long-term consequences of veganism on vulnerable populations (children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women).

It focuses on the many deficiencies that might arise from a strictly vegan diet. Some of these are deficiencies of vitamin B12, protein, vitamin D, calcium and being prone to mental health problems. It's important to understand some of the shortfalls of having a vegetarian or vegan diet because it might be necessary to supplement and periodically test for these levels to make sure you are not becoming deficient.

In light of the increasing preference for diets devoid of animal protein among people, it's becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers, decision-makers, and the general public to fully comprehend the potential hazards and advantages of these dietary choices.

Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the GETLEAN and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I hope you at a great weekend and happy Tuesday if you're listening to this on Tuesday. Hope you had a chance to listen to my interview with Jane Buxton.

Brian (43s):

We got into her book, the Great Plant-based con and the Risks of plant-based diets. We got into climate change, some of the key nutrients that you're gonna get from animal-based and animal-based diet and much, much more. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend check out my interview. That's episode 3 28 with Jane Buxton. Now to piggyback off I this micro podcast, I wanted to discuss, you know, a little bit about what we talked about during the interview and then dive a little bit deeper into maybe some of the, I should say, some of the deficiencies that could come from getting on a vegan or vegetarian diet in the long term.

Brian (1m 25s):

Now, short term wise, you can get a lot of health out, positive health outcomes, especially if you're coming from a standard American diet where you're having a lot of processed foods. I think if you go onto any diet, you'll get positive outcomes. But the question is, what are the other long-term consequences? Could there be some nutritional negative effects and nutritional deficiencies that might come about that? And so this review, and I'll share it real quick on the screen if you're watching on YouTube, let me share my screen. There we go. The impact of a vegan diet on many aspects of health, the overlooked side of veganism. So this is a review article that was published in 2023 and I'm gonna share a little bit about what I got from this, this, this article.

Brian (2m 12s):

And one of the things it did is it took certain nutrients and, and sort of sparsed out, you know, what are the reasoning behind you might get these lack of nutritional deficiency or these nutritional deficiencies from being on a Vegan or vegetarian diet. Protein obviously is one of 'em. And it talked about a recent systematic study that examined the intake and adequacy of a vegetarian diet in terms of macro micronutrient intake in adult European population. The study found that vegans consumed the least total protein compared to other diet groups confirming concerns that vegetarian or vegan diets may include insufficient protein, particularly instances where legume seed and nut consumption is limited.

Brian (2m 58s):

And so those would probably be more on the, on the vegan side. Vegans consume fewer essential amino acids than non-vegan and plant Proteins tend to be less digestible, 50 to 70% than animal Proteins. So this is something to keep in mind. According to the World Health Organization, animal Proteins are considered the complete protein and have higher biological value protein efficiency ratio, net protein utilization, and ultimately have a higher protein digestibility corrected amino acid score. you know, one of those important amino acids is leucine, which I talked a lot about with Dr. Don Lehman when I had him on Loosen, helps trigger muscle protein synthesis and you get loose, loosen mainly from animal Proteins and eggs and things like that.

Brian (3m 48s):

So something to keep in mind regarding protein. And then vitamin B12, which Jane talked about during our interview. Low vitamin B12 intake is a significant problem in vegan diets due to the exclusion of vitamin B12 rich foods such as meat, poultry, and eggs. So a lack of vitamin B12 has been linked to neurologic and Hema heat hematologic problems. Low vitamin B12 intake has serious clinical consequences, although deficient symptoms appear gradually over time. And I think that's the thing to take from it is like if you're on a diet like this, initially you might get some positive outcomes, but what is the long-term consequence?

Brian (4m 29s):

So to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency, vegans must get their, I would say, get their levels checked regularly and maybe get some type of daily supplementation or have some fortified foods that are higher in B12. The next mineral micronutrients they talked about was iron iron's a big one, right? Vegans have greater iron needs than other diet patterns, mainly because of the non-heme. Iron from plant-based foods is less bioavailable as absorption. Absorption, it can be hindered by whole grains, legumes and nuts due to their phytic acid content. So this is actually talking about the fact that if you're eating a lot of nuts, legumes, and whole grains, they have a higher phytic acid content, which could create less bioavailability as far as iron is concerned, you're not gonna absorb it as well.

Brian (5m 19s):

Vegans also have a zinc defi could be zinc deficient, deficient, excuse me, while meat, dairy eggs contain zinc, some zinc rich foods, plant foods are like nuts, seeds and whole grains have a poor bioavailability. It's mainly 'cause of the presence of, like I said, this phytic acid. So, and this can in inhibit the absorption in the gut. You'd think I learned how to talk. I've had a podcast for four years. But anyways, so zinc, B12, protein and iron, big ones selenium, another big one. Insufficiency has been seen among vegetarians. And then one of the bigger ones I think is vitamin D, calcium and bone mineral density.

Brian (6m 3s):

So with risk of fractures, numerous studies have shown that vegans consume insufficient calcium and vitamin D. Not only owing to the absence of dairy products, but also due to calcium bioavailability problems in plant-based diets. vitamin D insufficiency exa exacerbates calcium shortage further owing to the impaired intestinal absorption. So pretty much vegans have a higher incidence of overall fractures, a greater incidence of overall fractures. And this is something to really keep an eye on, especially as you get older. And so you might have to supplement one way or the other with vitamin D calcium and things like that.

Brian (6m 48s):

You know, if you're getting a quality vitamin D, make sure that has K two in it as well. And then not to, fairly recently there was some studies and it talks about this systematic review regarding me mental health, potential mental health issues, comparing, usually looking at 18 studies comparing meat eaters versus meat abstainers in terms of mental health. And it concluded that God, it took 160,000 individuals around from various geographic areas and pretty much from ages from 11 to 96 and 11 of the 18 studies found that meat free diets were linked with worse psychological health.

Brian (7m 30s):

Four were inconclusive, and three found that meat-free diets resulted in improved results. So a little bit of a mixed bag there, But, it did, it did tip towards that people that avoid meat have could have a higher, worse psychological health. And again, I'm not this, I'm not here just to knock non meat eaters, right? Like I didn't eat meat for years. I was pescatarian for a long, for quite a bit, maybe four years, give or take three, four years. And as I, as I actually got into podcasting, realizing that I, I needed to add quality an animal protein if I wanted to get the, the growth that I needed as far as muscle growth and, and make sure that I get the right mineral and minerals and vitamins from my food, which I try to do as much as possible if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you know, obviously you might have to supplement more and nothing wrong with that necessarily.

Brian (8m 31s):

Obviously you'd rather get it from Whole Foods. And so I just wanna touch on this systematic review article and how the importance especially, and it gets into, I'm not gonna go into it today, But, it gets into the, the effects of pregnancy fetal outcomes and lactation during pregnancy that if a individual is a vegan and the risk of this vitamin sufficiency could lead to poor fetal outcomes as well. So just something to keep in mind, if you do have a family friend member who maybe is Vegan or vegetarian, if that's fine. If they wanna, you know, go down that route, they just might have to add some supplementation and just to make sure that they're not lacking these certain minerals and, and vitamins that I talked about today on the show.

Brian (9m 20s):

And Jane and I get into to that And, you know, definitely I would recommend her book if this is something that you wanna even dive more into. And yeah, if you, if you have any other questions regarding this, let let me know. That's all I wanna touch on today was this review article. Have a great rest of the day and I look forward to talking to you on Friday with another great interview. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks for listening to the GETLEAN E Clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode.

Brian (10m 1s):

Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

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