What is a plant-based diet?
It's a diet based on the food derived from plants. It's also based on whole food and not on highly processed food. So the ingredients are mostly unrefined, whole and minimally refined.
The principle of this diet is to concentrate on plant food, reduce refined food like sugar, limit or avoid animal food, limited the footprint and pay more attention to the food by avoiding adding ingredients.
There are multiple ways of eating a plant-based diet:
Lacto-Ovo vegetarians – eat dairy foods and eggs but no meat, poultry or seafood.
Ovo-vegetarians – include eggs but avoid all other animal foods, including dairy.
Lacto-vegetarians – eat dairy foods but exclude eggs, meat, poultry and seafood.
Vegans – don't eat any animal products at all, including honey, dairy and eggs.
Why do people choose to follow a plant-based diet?
There are many reasons why people choose to follow a plant-based diet.
Some people are concerned about the treatment of animals. Others think about the environment and our footprint. Finally, some people have decided to be more adventurous by trying new tastes.
What are the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet?
Many studies showed that following a plant-based diet would prevent obesity, as it's lower in energy density and high in complex carbohydrates, fibre and water, which increase satiety and resting energy expenditure.
That is very encouraging for people that need to lose weight and feel there is no solution.
The plant-based diet offers an advantage. It prevents and helps to manage diabetes. People develop during their lifetime diabetes because they favourite the type of high salty or/and high fatty food that lowers their insulin response and stores more fat in their body that perturbs their hormones such as leptin. Studies showed that a plant-based diet is a powerful diet that helps people to reduce their diabetes.
Studies also talked about how the plant-based diet helps to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.
Health concerns about a plant-based diet
All diet sounds amazing and safe to use, but each person is different. Before suggesting any diet, I make sure that people can break food properly and absorbs vitamins and minerals to avoid any deficiency, especially if you are vegan, Ovo vegetarian, and Lacto vegetarian.
We are going to talk about macronutrients and micronutrients
Protein: Animal protein vs Plant protein
Protein is an amino acid, and there are around 20 of them.
We produce some of the non-essential amino acids in our body and get the others from the food essential amino acid.
Animal protein is considered a complete protein than plant protein because they have all the essential amino acid that our body needs.
Some other nutrients are higher in animal food than in plant food.
The plant-based diet contains iron, but it has a lower bioavailability than the iron present in animal food.
The plant-based food with a higher iron level is kidney bean, soya, black bean, spinach, cabbage, etc.
Vitamin B12 :
Some studies showed that people who follow a plant-based diet vegan have a lower vitamin B12 than those flexitarians.
This vitamin is necessary for the good function of your brain and the maintenance of the good part of your central nervous system.
Nutritional therapist's opinion: If you decide to follow a plant-based diet vegan, I would recommend checking with your GP, if your level of vitamin B12 is good and discussing with him or your health practitioner about a supplement that would help.
Vitamin D deficiency is expected in the general population. Some plant-based products are fortified in vitamin D. However NHS recommends that all people supplement themselves during wintertime, as the sunlight is lower than in the summertime.
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Disclaimer: As a multilingual practitioner, you may occasionally notice grammatical errors in my written work. If you have any questions about my content, please get in touch.