EXPLAINED: How dangerous is it to be a vegan?


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Diet without animal products makes you sick. Soy schnitzel instead of Nuremberg bratwurst? Uli Hoeneß, ex-president of FC Bayern and founder of the HoWe sausage factory railed yesterday.

He does not accept “vegan at all, because in the long run people only get sick”. Fake news from the former sausage factory boss or isn’t it?

Vegans completely avoid animal products: no meat, no eggs, no milk. Dr. Matthias Riedl (58) explains when and how drastically avoiding it can become unhealthy.


Vegan nutrition can harm the body in the long run

“A strictly vegan diet makes no sense from a medical point of view. It leads to a lack of vitamins and trace elements, ”says the expert.

Often there is a vitamin B12 deficiency. Without food supplements, the physical consequences will show up after five to ten years. If you do not take action against it, nerve disorders or anemia can develop.

Forms of nutritionMeatFish & SeafoodEggsDairy productsHoneyFruits & Veggies
Lacto vegetarians✔️✔️✔️
Ovo vegetarians✔️✔️✔️
Lacto-ovo vegetarians✔️✔️✔️✔️
✔️ – Eaten ❌ – Avoided ⚫ – Occasionally consumed (*partly windfallen fruist)

Expert advice necessary

Dr. Riedl exaggerated anyway. “If you want to eat vegan, you should get good information and professional advice beforehand. However, daily consumption of meat damages the body much more in the long run. “

Infants and children are an exception. With a vegan diet without food supplements, the little ones are threatened with severe physical consequences, such as mental retardation or short stature.

Pointless vegan fast food

On one point, however, the expert agrees with ex-soccer professional Honeß: He considers vegan ready-made products to be nonsensical. “This is highly processed astronaut food with flavor enhancers,” says the doctor. “The industry has picked up a healthy trend and turned it into the opposite.”

Instead of vegan bratwurst, it is better to put it on the stove yourself. “Vegan dishes you cook yourself are great,” says the nutritional medicine doctor.

But more important than the question “With or without an animal?” Is the list of ingredients at the end of the day. It should be fresh and unprocessed! As a principle, Dr. Riedl: “What you cook yourself is healthy.


4 GOOD reasons to lead a vegan lifestyle

1. Obesity

In Germany, 67% of men and 53% of women are currently overweight, 23% of men and 24% of women are very overweight, i.e. obese. In addition, obesity is linked to diabetes and a number of secondary diseases.

A vegan diet is usually characterized by a high consumption of plant-based products (high in fiber) and a lower energy and fat intake, so that most people who live vegan have a healthy body weight. But not only the choice of food is important here, but also a healthy lifestyle. Vegans drink less alcohol on average, smoke less and do more exercise.

2. Cancer

After cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the most common cause of death in Germany. There are now many studies that deal with a vegan lifestyle and cancer.

Various studies show that people who live vegan have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer or dying than meat eaters . In particular, the risk of developing colon or lung cancer is significantly lower.

3. Inflammatory diseases

The incidence of inflammatory diseases has increased significantly in the last few decades. Autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis are also chronic inflammatory diseases.

Arachidonic acid plays an important fatty acid in this context . This omega-6 fatty acid is needed in the body to make so-called bad eicosanoids (inflammatory factors) . These lead to increased inflammatory reactions in the organism. Arachidonic acid is mainly found in animal products .

Avoiding animal products therefore leads to a reduced absorption of arachidonic acid. People who follow a vegan lifestyle therefore have a lower CRP concentration (CRP is a marker for the severity of inflammatory diseases) than meat eaters. For this reason, a vegan diet has an anti-inflammatory effect and can also help with existing diseases.

4. Cardiovascular diseases

A vegan diet is characterized by a high consumption of plant-based food, lower energy intake and fat, a more favorable fatty acid composition and a significantly lower intake of cholesterol. A high intake of animal products increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

This is why vegans are significantly less likely to get sick or die from atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

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