Plant-based diet vs. Animal-based diet – which one is best?
In recent years, following a plant-based diet has become quite a trend. Those who follow such a diet can do it for various reasons – to protest the meat industry, one of the biggest threats to our environment, or as a protest against animal cruelty.
What do doctors and researchers tell us about vegan and vegetarian diets? Can they be a perfect substitute for animal-based diets? Let’s find out!
The benefits of an animal-based diet
The biggest benefit of eating meat and other animal products is the fact that it provides us with a healthy amount of protein.
What exactly are proteins?
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are necessary for your body’s wellbeing. Amino acids help with essential body processes such as muscle and bone repair, or the formation of enzymes and hormones.
The human body can already produce 11 amino acids (also called non-essential amino acids). And yet, there are 9 amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. These are called essential amino acids, and must be obtained from a varied diet.
Meat – the main source of protein and more
Animal products are considered complete foods because they can provide us with all 9 essential amino acids. Some good sources of animal protein are:
- meat (poultry, red meat, fish)
- sea fruits
- dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
Animal products also provide us with other essential nutrients, such as fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Keep in mind that not all types of meat will have the same benefits. Some studies show that a high consumption of red meat may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. In contrast, regular consumption of fish leads to a lower risk of heart disease and slows cognitive decline in old age.
The benefits of a plant-based diet
So, is a plant-based diet the solution to a healthy life? This topic is still up for debate in the medical world.
Several studies have shown a strong link between such a diet and
A study also showed that all of these benefits come from diets full of vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. In contrast, the opposite effect is seen in diets full of refined grains and vegetables fried in oil.
As you can see, what you eat matters a lot more than where it comes from. When you think about it, Coca-Cola contains 100% plant-based ingredients – that doesn’t mean it’s a good substitute for a serving of broccoli.
It should be noted that this topic needs further research. It is not yet known whether the positive effects have anything to do with eliminating meat from your diet altogether, or are simply due to the fact that vegan and vegetarian diets tend to contain a wide variety of nutrients.
Possible issues of a plant-based diet
In addition to the amazing benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets, doctors also warn that there might be some issues.
As mentioned above, animal products contain all 9 essential amino acids – that’s why animal protein is called a complete protein. In contrast, plant-based products will usually lack one or more amino acids. To make sure we get all 9 amino acids, we need to combine different plant foods – something many people don’t consider when switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
It’s important to note that there are some vegetable products that contain complete proteins, although very little. Quinoa, spirulina and soybean sprouts are some of the few examples.
As you can see, there are many benefits associated with a vegetarian diet. And yet, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet without the advice of a nutritionist, you may be missing out on many essential nutrients.
In addition to the standard menus, in the Dahna app we also offer you personalized vegetarian menus, designed by medical expertise. With just a few clicks, you can be sure to give your body all the nutrients it needs to sustain itself even on a vegetarian diet.