Study reveals: Why vegan diets aren’t automatically healthy

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According to a study, women and men are not automatically health conscious.

Researchers took a closer look at vegans’ dietary patterns and exercise behaviours. They found that vegan diets are not automatically health-conscious.

The public often perceives women and men who avoid all animal products in their diet as particularly health-conscious. Researchers of the Center for Public Health of the Medical University of Vienna now investigated vegans’ dietary patterns and exercise behaviour. They could, in many cases, find a discrepancy between appearance and reality, as it was said on Thursday in a release.

Frequent consumption of industrially processed foods
Vegan inside and Veganer would be active according to it over average frequently sportily. Still, this group’s widespread consumption of industrially processed food is classified as not “favorable for the health.” The study results were recently published in the scientific journal “Nutrients.”

As undisputed as the benefits of plant-based diets for health care in the scientific community, the degree of processing of the foods consumed must be considered, especially in this area, the study said. For the survey, the scientists Maria Wakolbinger and Sandra Haider of MedUni answered 516 people’s online questions about their healthy habits. All participants had been living vegan for at least three months and were, on average, 28 years old. “Vegan does not equate to ‘healthy’ per se,” Wakolbinger said.

The study worked out two groups of vegans.
The research team elaborated on two groups among vegans: those with a “convenience” dietary pattern (53 percent) were characterized by higher consumption of processed fish and meat alternatives, vegan savoury snacks, sauces, cakes, sweets, as well as convenience foods, fruit juices and refined grains, according to the study. “The negative effects of industrially processed foods on health have now been clearly proven in studies,” says Wakolbinger. With the main consumption of processed foods, people who eat a mixed diet have a 29 percent higher risk of all-cause mortality, he said. The increased risk for overweight or obesity rises by up to 51 percent, for cardiovascular diseases by 29 percent and for type 2 diabetes mellitus by as much as 74 percent.

Vegans (47 percent), classified as health-conscious, eat more vegetables, fruit, protein and dairy alternatives, potatoes, whole grains, vegetable oils and fats. This group cooks more often with fresh ingredients, according to the study. Physical activity behaviour also differs between the two vegan study populations, although vegans generally exercise more frequently than the average Austrian population. “However, as our study showed, the health-conscious group engages in significantly more exercise than those individuals who fall into the convenience food pattern,” said first author Haider.

Around two percent of Austrians are vegan.
Veganism is a form of a plant-based diet. Unlike vegetarians, vegans abstain from meat and all foods of animal origin, such as milk, eggs or cheese. In Austria, about two percent eat vegan, according to a MedUni statement.

The term “pudding vegetarianism” means a diet in which vegetarians reach for lots of sweets instead of meat. “Accordingly, the convenience food pattern we identified could be called ‘pudding veganism,'” Wakolbinger and Haider summarized. According to the release, vegan meat and dairy alternatives now generate annual sales of 1.7 billion euros in Europe.

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