How to avoid deficiencies in a vegan diet?
According to a study by Statista, the vegan population in the world tends to increase every year. In France, it reaches 2%, while in our German, English or Swiss neighbors, it is about 3%. India, for its part, pulverizes the scores with 13,4 % of vegans on its territory.
Globally, these numbers remain low compared to the number of omnivores. But with ecological issues, animal abuse and the growing interest of the population for healthier food, more and more of us are willing to change our consumption patterns.
The exclusively plant-based diet, known as vegan, is becoming more and more popular because it is healthier and more respectful of the environment. However, if practiced without a minimum of reflection, it can cause deficiencies with serious repercussions for the whole body.
So we were interested in this subject: how to avoid a deficiency on a vegan diet? We give you all the keys here. Here we go!
Vegan food in a few words
First of all, it is important not to confuse veganism and vegan food. Veganism is a way of life that refuses all forms of animal exploitation. Thus, a vegan, strictly speaking and by definition (since each person is free to choose his or her own convictions), does not wear clothes made from animals such as wool, silk or leather, and does not use any product tested on animals. Of course, he doesn't eat meat , fish or shellfish, nor those resulting from animal activity such as milk, cheese or honey.
So you can have a vegan diet without fully adopting the vegan lifestyle.
The ONAV (Observatoire National de l'Alimentation végétale) defines a person adopting a vegan diet as " a person [who] does not consume organs (muscles, viscera and tissues), biological liquids (milk, blood, marrow, etc.), derivatives (yoghurt, butter, cheese, cream, etc.) and productions (eggs, honey, etc.) whose production has, directly or indirectly, required the exploitation or slaughter of a terrestrial or aquatic animal. It consumes food of non-animal origin.
At first glance, this exclusively plant-based diet does not always seem attractive, especially because of preconceived ideas. However, when practiced intelligently, it turns out to be quite varied and healthy for the health. This new way of consumption leads the vegan population to rethink their plates and cook their dishes, which allows them to avoid the too fatty and too sweet food found in supermarkets.
However, if this diet is healthy enough, a vegan deficiency can happen quickly if you are not careful.
How to limit as much as possible the deficiencies in vegan food?
As a general rule, the daily requirements for human beings are well met by plants and legumes. The vegan diet based exclusively on the consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes is good for the transit, because it is rich in fiber, low in sugar and salt, which helps to avoid diabetes or obesity.
Therefore, to ensure good health and avoid deficiencies as much as possible, prepare balanced and varied dishes. Monitor your intake by learning about the different sources of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Even if you don't eat meat or fish, you can find protein in soy, spirulina, hemp and pumpkin seeds, and most legumes in general. Iron and iodine are available in some seaweeds.
Nevertheless, despite a good lifestyle and a healthy diet, with the exclusion of meat, fish, shellfish and all products related to the animal, some intakes are difficult to meet. Thus, a vegan deficiency is unfortunately quickly found, and some are quite frequent, such as the lack of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, iodine, fatty acids or vitamin D.
This is where complementation comes in.
Vegan deficiency: the right supplements to get back on track
In order to prevent any deficiency, it is possible to supplement with good quality food supplements. The lack of vitamin B12, in particular, is almost inevitable in this way of eating!
Indeed, vitamin B12 is present exclusively in meat, which makes it impossible for vegans to consume it. A deficiency in B12 can cause serious damage to the brain: a supplementation is therefore mandatory.
Iron is also a concern because it is much less bioavailable in plants, i.e., less absorbable than the iron found in animal foods. Thus, even if a vegan consumes it through various products, it can happen that he is deficient.
As for vitamin D, even if we find it in fruits and through exposure to the sun, it is mostly hidden in foods excluded from the plant diet such as fish, milk or eggs. Moreover, a good part of the population, even omnivores, is often deficient when the bad days arrive and the sun is scarce.
Finally, zinc, fatty acids and iodine are also among the elements to be monitored and potentially supplemented, because here again, they are mainly found in meat products or shellfish.
To avoid these risks of vegan deficiency, Novoma has developed a wide range of dietary supplements, including everything you need to be in top shape.
You will find vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and everything you need to fill the gaps in your vegan diet, such as :
- of spirulina,
- our probiotic formula,
- of vitamin D3,
and many other supplements. These are both ideal to fill a vegan deficiency, and are themselves manufactured in compliance with veganism, without any animal products! Finally, when supplementation is necessary, always choose products of very good quality and bioavailable for the body, in order to optimize the assimilation of the supplements.
Balanced diet and supplementation: the winning vegan duo
You now know more about the vegan diet, its advantages, but also the risks of vegan deficiency. Now that you know what you need to know, don't forget to balance and vary your diet, and above all, to supplement if you follow a strict vegan diet. Without this, beware of deficits, especially in vitamin B12!
Co-founder of NOVOMA
Passionate and expert in micro-nutrition, Lucas founded Novoma in 2012. It is with conviction that he develops food supplements with effective active ingredients, carefully chosen and 100% clean, to best meet the needs of the body.