What’s The Big Deal About Going Vegan?
Recent studies show that more and more people in the U.S. are choosing to reduce or give up meat in their diet because of the growing body of evidence linking meat consumption to obesity, digestive problems, heart disease, some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and early death.
There are 3 common reasons why people eat a vegan diet:
1. To protest the exploitation/cruelty of animals by the agricultural industry: There are reports of animal cruelty in many livestock operations. Ten billion animals are slaughtered every yearfor human consumption in the U.S.
2. To reduce the environmental costs of agriculture: According to the EPA, chemical and animal waste runoff pollutes more than 173,000 miles of rivers and streams annually and is the nation’s leading cause of impaired water quality. Nearly 20% of worldwide pollution is attributed to the meat industry. Resource use is a concern to vegans.
3. To improve their overall health and live a healthier life: The vegan diet is designed to eliminate many of the health risks associated with meat consumption, (such as higher risk of disease) and increase consumption of healthy raw foods like vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits. Vegans (and vegetarians) are known to have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower body/mass indexes (less fat), and lower rates for type 2diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
What’s The Problems with Meat, Dairy, and Fish?
When red meat is consumed in excess quantities, it can cause a person to have higher than normal levels of cholesterol and saturated fats. Diets rich in animal fats are associated with higher risks for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, and several types of cancer. Red meat also contains carnitine, which causes hardening of the arteries, and studies show that increased carnitine is associated with increased cardiovascular disease.
For Dairy Recent studies are showing that as many as 75 % of the world’s adult population may be lactose intolerant, which can cause a number of health problems. High intake of dairy products can raise an individual’s cholesterol levels which can lead to obesity, digestive problems, and heart disease. The problem comes from the combination of animal products derived from unhealthy animals and a diet high in refined sugar. Fish, although high in protein, can contain varying amounts of carcinogens like PCBs and DDT and also heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. These contaminants are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological deficits.
With all the growing evidence pointing to the health hazards associated with a meat-centered diet, it is no wonder that more people are adopting a vegan (and vegetarian) diet.