What should vegans and vegetarians know about food?

Understand what is behind the growing absence of animal products on the table and learn about the challenges of vegan and vegetarian food.

The number of vegans It is vegetarians has grown around the world. This lifestyle, taken by about 80 million people worldwide, is already recognized by health agencies as a healthy diet and a more sustainable way of living.

The Ministry of Health, which recognizes in its Food Guide for the Brazilian Population and in the Food Guide for Brazilian Children Under Two Years Old that a vegetarian or vegan diet contributes to environmental sustainability and offers a balanced diet, as long as the foods are chosen correctly.

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But to adhere to this diet or lifestyle, it is very important to know what the challenges of this diet are, the precautions when removing animal foods and also the importance of choosing an excellent quality vegetable product for this change. Therefore, PROTESTE tested two categories of products intended for this public vegetable burger and the oat vegetable drink. see below what vegans and vegetarians should know about food!

What is veganism and vegetarianism?

You’ve probably heard of veganism and vegetarianism or even know someone who is vegan or vegetarian. Even though they are common, many people still have questions about these forms of food. By the way, does it have difference in these two terms?

Veganism is a Lifestyle in which supporters do not eat or use anything of animal origin, not even meat or animal derivatives and products that have caused suffering to an animal in order to be marketed.

Vegetarianism is a diet that is divided into a few categories. Lacto-ovo vegetarians, for example, do not consume foods such as red meat, chicken, fish and pork, but consume derivatives such as milk and eggs. The lactovegetarian consumes only milk and its derivatives. And the ovovegetarian only consumes the egg. Strict vegetarians are those who do not consume anything of animal origin, but do not follow the vegan lifestyle of not buying any product that has caused animal suffering.

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Understand the growing adherence to veganism and vegetarianism

Although this subject seems recent, the vegetarian movement has existed since the sixth century BC, when the Greek philosopher Pythagoras already defended the meatless food for ethical and religious reasons.

In the world of celebrities, there are several important figures who also advocate a meatless diet, such as Lewis Hamilton, Bill Gates, Mike Tyson, Venus Williams, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, Jared Leto, Natalie Portman, among many others.

Only in Brazil there are more than 30 million vegetarians, according to data released by the Brazilian Vegetarian Society, surveyed by Ibope in 2018. This number represents 14% of the population. To give you an idea, six years before the study, only 8% of the population declared themselves vegetarian.

The reasons for joining these diets or lifestyle are many, they range from ethical and religious issues to environmental concerns. One of the most current reasons is the issue of sustainability.

According to a survey carried out by the University of Sao Paulo (USP)a mixed diet, composed of animal and vegetable proteins, would already be able to save 809 million hectares (Mha), reduce the emission of 1 billion tons of carbon and save 720 trillion liters of water. The study also found that as diets prioritize plant foods and exclude animal foods, the positive impacts are even greater.

Another study carried out by Johns Hopkins Universityin the United States, revealed that it is possible reduce 70% of gas emissions that cause the greenhouse effect in Brazil with the adoption of a diet that partially or totally excludes animal products.

Environmental concern is not the only reason people have joined the vegetarian and vegan movement around the world. One of the motivations most cited by supporters is the end of animal suffering.

This is the main cause of veganism, which advocates that all animals must be free and must not be treated as products on shelves. The issue of animal suffering is also related to the testing of products and drugs carried out on animals, as well as the use of clothes, shoes, accessories and other items that are manufactured from the suffering of animals.

What are the challenges of the vegan and vegetarian diet?

Adhering to veganism or vegetarianism is everyone’s choice, but it needs to be done with food planning and certain precautions. Below, we will explain some of the main challenges of the vegan and vegetarian diet, follow along:

nutritional deficiencies

To the nutritional deficiencies are among the main challenges. This is because vegan and vegetarian diets can be deficient in some nutrients essentials, like b12 vitamincalcium, protein and iron, for example.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that the diet includes adequate sources of these nutrients or to take supplements to avoid deficiencies. It is worth noting that even people who do not follow restrictive diets may have nutritional deficiencies if they do not have one. balanced diet.

Dietary restrictions

Another challenge of these diets are the dietary restrictions. Following a vegan or vegetarian diet can limit food options available in restaurants and supermarkets, which can make it difficult to eat away from home.

Although there are many products already designed for those that exclude ingredients of animal origin, there is still a certain difficulty finding them everywhere. As we said, here, at PROTESTE, we have already tested some of these products, such as vegetable burger and the oat vegetable drink.

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high prices

You high prices are another challenge when adhering to these diets. Even with food options with nothing of animal origin, vegans and vegetarians face the challenge of high prices by consuming these products daily.

Some vegan and vegetarian foods can be More expensive than animal-based alternatives, making adherence to a vegan or vegetarian diet more costly. This is the case of grains, oilseeds and even industrialized products such as beverages and vegetable meats, for example.

food planning

Lastly, the food planning is another challenge for adherents to these diets. Following a vegan or vegetarian diet may require more meal planning and preparation than a conventional diet, which can be a challenge for people with little free time or limited cooking skills.

But this is also a challenge for non-meat eaters. It is important to remember that the consumption of processed foodswhether vegan, vegetarian or of animal origin, deserve attention in the amount of saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Learn how to make more conscious choices with our pocket guide to New Nutritional Labeling, which started last October. The ebook is available at PROTESTE app.

Supplements for Vegans and Vegetarians

When dealing with restrictive diets such as veganism and the different categories of vegetarianism, it is important to consider the supplementation in situations where it is needed.

An example is when the person has a nutritional deficiency due to the exclusion of certain foods. Vegans and vegetarians need to pay extra attention to some nutrients that are obtained in large amounts from animal foods, such as calcium, iron, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Currently, there are several options for specific supplements for vegans and vegetarians, which do not have ingredients of animal origin in their compositions. But it is important to know the needs of each one before carrying out a supplementation, as well as having the follow-up of a nutritionist.

consumer guide

How important is a nutritionist?

Just as supplementation is important in cases of nutritional deficiency, the monitoring by a nutritionist for a vegan or vegetarian diet is essential.

This professional is responsible for set up a menu and plan the diet for each individual based on your nutritional characteristics, needs and personal preferences. He also performs nutritional monitoring to identify the need for supplementation and which nutrients are being supplied from food.

The nutritionist has a very important role in the nutritional monitoring of a vegan or vegetarian diettherefore, when adhering to one of these diets, the help of a professional is essential.

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You can learn much more with PROTESTE!

PROTEST is the largest consumer association in Latin America and we believe that the best way to improve the quality of life of Brazilian citizens is through information.

You can follow our articles and become increasingly informed about health, well-being, consumer rights and technology through the PROTESTE App or from our telegram channel.

It is important to remember that not knowing your rights as a consumer or citizen can cause you to be harmed in different situations. And we can help you with quality informationas well as other services that are useful for the life of any citizen.

One of these services is the Reclame channel, so that consumers can send complaints directly to companies. In addition, PROTESTE also offers extrajudicial intervention and assistance from specialists in cases of consumption problems.

You can also have access to exclusive contentsuch as the results of comparative tests, which we carry out to identify which are the best products or services available on the market, and PROTESTE Magazine.

Now that you already know some of the benefits offered by our services, click here to become a PROTEST member now!

Fernanda Taveira

Fernanda Taveira

Specialist at the Competence Center for Food and Health at PROTESTE Master in Food, Nutrition and Health at UERJ

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