What is it?
Veganism is a movement in which its adherents seek, as far as possible and practicable, to avoid consuming all forms of exploitation and cruelty against animals. It differs from vegetarianism because it does not cover only food, but the whole lifestyle, such as makeup, clothing, footwear, among others.
Reasons to adhere to veganism
The reasons that lead people to adopt veganism as their lifestyle are diverse and can be combined: environmental issues such as the impact of meat, milk and dairy products consumption on climate change and the expenditure of natural resources (such as water), health issues by perceiving lower consumption of saturated fats in a balanced vegan diet, society issues, since the energy efficiency of producing animals for slaughter is very low (2 to 10 kg of plant protein, such as soybean, are consumed to produce only 1 kg of protein of animal origin), and also the defense of animals, which are slaughtered in the number of 10,000 terrestrial animals per minute in Brazil.
Quality of plant proteins
Animal proteins are generally considered complete sources of essential amino acids, and meet the essential amino acid requirements for human growth and development. Plant proteins may have insufficient levels of one or more essential amino acids: legumes are often low in amino acids methionine and cysteine, while lysine is typically limiting in cereals. To ensure a protein intake with all essential amino acids, it is important to combine a lot of legumes with a lot of cereals.
Attention nutrients in veganism
It is important that vegans maintain special care with the levels of some nutrients, which may be low in this diet:
- Vitamin B12, which is synthesized by microorganisms as bacteria and is found only in foods of animal origin. Vegans need to supplement this nutrient;
- Vitamin D, which is more present in animal foods such as salmon, sardines, egg, liver and seafood, but there are still plant sources such as mushrooms; In addition, sunlight itself is the best source of this nutrient;
- Omega 3, since the main sources are fish; but can be found in nuts, chestnuts, almonds, flaxseed, sunflower, soy, avocado, canola oil and olive oil;
- Calcium, especially due to the lack of dairy consumption. It can be found in dark green, oilseed, legume and broccoli leaves;
- Iron, because a great source are red meats and viscera, but can be replaced by dark green leaves, legumes, whole grains, oilseeds, sugarcane syrup, rapadura and brown sugar.
Effects of plant proteins on health
Item: Hertzler, S.R.; Lieblein-Boff, J.C.; Weiler, M.; Allgeier, C. Plant Proteins: Assessing Their Nutritional Quality and Effects on Health and Physical Function. Nutrients