Starting a vegan diet for January: Should you do it?

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A new study from the University of Nottingham offers an insightful analysis of “Veganuary,” a popular initiative where meat-eaters adopt a vegan diet for January.

The research, published in the journal Nutrients, delves into both the positive and negative dietary impacts of this temporary shift to veganism.

The study focused on adults aged 18 to 60, including meat-eaters and vegetarians who participated in Veganuary, as well as vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters who did not change their diet.

Participants were asked to complete food frequency questionnaires about their diet before and during Veganuary.

One of the key findings was a significant decrease in the intake of vitamin B12 and iodine among participants who did not use dietary supplements.

This is crucial because iodine, typically found in dairy, eggs, white fish, and seafood (all excluded in a vegan diet), is essential, especially for women of child-bearing age due to its importance in fetal brain development.

While iodine deficiency is uncommon in the U.K., it remains a concern for specific demographics.

On the positive side, those who switched to a vegan diet experienced a notable reduction in cholesterol levels, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. There was also a decrease in saturated fatty acids.

Dr. Simon Welham, the study’s senior author, emphasizes that Veganuary can be healthily undertaken if approached sensibly.

However, the study highlights the need for careful planning to ensure adequate intake of essential nutrients like iodine and B12. He advises participants to read food labels attentively and choose alternative products that are fortified with these nutrients.

The study underscores the importance of seeking nutritional advice or guidance when making significant dietary changes, like switching to a vegan diet.

Such guidance is vital to maintain a balanced and nutritionally adequate diet, particularly for those who may not consult with a dietary professional.

This research sheds light on the health benefits and potential nutritional gaps of adopting a vegan diet, even temporarily, and provides valuable insights for individuals considering Veganuary or other similar dietary changes.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about berry that can prevent cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and the harm of vitamin D deficiency you need to know.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about the connection between potatoes and high blood pressure,  and results showing why turmeric is a health game-changer.

The research findings can be found in Nutrients.

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