Vegan diets may seem restrictive to some, but they’re actually full of nutrient dense foods. Although vegan diets don’t contain any animal-based or produced products (no dairy, meat, pork, fish, chicken, etc), they can still meet all of your daily nutrition requirements when they contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Here are some benefits of vegan diets that you may not have considered.
Benefits of a vegan diet
1. Reduces your risk for metabolic syndrome1
Metabolic syndrome is a term for a group of symptoms associated with the development of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, and is also typically linked with being overweight. One study showed avoiding high fat and highly processed foods and focusing on a whole, plant-based vegan diet, can help control these risks.1
2. Is more sustainable for the environment1
The same study that showed a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome also supported the fact that a vegan diet is more sustainable for the environment.1 Raising animals for human consumption requires significantly more resources (water, energy, animal food) than harvesting plant-based foods.
3. May reduce inflammation
The high antioxidant and phytonutrient levels in a vegan diet have been shown to have the ability to fight inflammation in the body.2 With so many illnesses and symptoms linked to inflammation, using diet as a preventative tool is another reason to try a vegan diet.
4. Can support weight loss
Studies show that vegan diets can be effective for weight loss.3 This could be due to the high fibre, high volume, or satiating effects of eating lots of plant-based foods, combined with the fact that many vegan food sources are naturally low in calories. While you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, eating a vegan diet can help make this easier.
5. You can eat larger quantities of some foods
One of the reasons that vegan diets are tied to weight loss is because even large quantities of some vegan foods (like leafy greens or fruit with high water content) can still be low in calories. Choosing these high-volume, low-calorie foods can be very filling and not make you feel like you’re trying to cut calories or missing out on satisfying meals.
6. May improve productivity
One study was implemented in a workplace to learn the impact of following a vegan diet, and showed that employees were more productive when following a plant-based diet plan.4 This benefit of a vegan diet is attractive not only to those who want to excel but also to employers who want to keep their employees healthy and at the top of their game. This could be due to less stress or clearer mental health, but more research in this area needs to be completed.
7. May reduce your risk of chronic disease
Possibly the most important benefit of a vegan diet is the fact that it has been shown to help prevent chronic disease.5 Whether diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure - many of these diseases can be prevented by a healthy, plant-based diet and active lifestyle. If longevity is your goal, make sure you are including more plant-based foods in your diet to keep your body healthy and ready to meet your goals.
Take home message
While some think vegan diets are restrictive, they can actually be very satisfying, high in protein, and have a ton of benefits. Even if you aren’t ready to make the full jump to being a vegan, try adding a few more plant-based meals into your week and see if you notice any of these benefits.
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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
- Marrone, G., Guerriero, C., Palazzetti, D., Lido, P., Marolla, A., Daniele, F. D., & Noce, A. (2021). Vegan Diet Health Benefits in Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, 13(3), 817.
- Shah, B., Newman, J. D., Woolf, K., Ganguzza, L., Guo, Y., Allen, N., … & Slater, J. (2018). Anti‐inflammatory effects of a vegan diet versus the American Heart Association–recommended diet in coronary artery disease trial. Journal of the American Heart Association, 7(23), e011367.
- Turner‐McGrievy, G. M., Barnard, N. D., & Scialli, A. R. (2007). A two‐year randomized weight loss trial comparing a vegan diet to a more moderate low‐fat diet. Obesity, 15(9), 2276-2281.
- Katcher, H. I., Ferdowsian, H. R., Hoover, V. J., Cohen, J. L., & Barnard, N. D. (2010). A worksite vegan nutrition program is well-accepted and improves health-related quality of life and work productivity. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 56(4), 245-252.
- Hever, J., & Cronise, R. J. (2017). Plant-based nutrition for healthcare professionals: implementing diet as a primary modality in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Journal of geriatric cardiology: JGC, 14(5), 355.
Claire is a Registered Dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a board-certified Health and Wellness Coach through the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.
Talking and writing about food and fitness is at the heart of Claire’s ethos as she loves to use her experience to help others meet their health and wellness goals.
Claire is also a certified indoor cycling instructor and loves the mental and physical boost she gets from regular runs and yoga classes. When she’s not keeping fit herself, she’s cheering on her hometown’s sports teams in Pittsburgh, or cooking for her family in the kitchen.
Find out more about Claire’s experience here.