An exceptionally plant-based diet has its pros and cons.
But in 2017, a study appeared according to which the daily intake of fruits and vegetables should be doubled. According to London scientists, this would prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year.
The lead author of the study, Dagfinn Aune (Dagfinn Aune) notes that fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve the condition of blood vessels and the immune system.
In his opinion, this effect is justified by the content of a complex system of nutrients in them. And antioxidants may reduce DNA damage, which can lead to a lower risk of cancer.
If ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day are significantly better than five, you can think about switching to exclusively plant-based foods. Let’s figure out how this will affect the body.
You will have a lack of important macronutrients
Fruits and vegetables will provide you with fiber and carbohydrates, but from them, you will not get the right amount of fat and protein. And they are vital to the body. Fats – for brain health, enough energy and metabolism, proteins – for strong muscles and a strong immune system.
“If you eat only fruits and vegetables, you are waiting for a loss of muscle mass and strength,” says nutritionist Amy Shapiro. “A plant-based diet can provide protein, but you need to include cereals in it.”
Your inflammation will decrease
Inflammation occurs when the body tries to defend itself against viruses and bacteria or repair damaged tissue. But some foods – including meat, cheese, and processed foods – increase inflammation.
This negatively affects the body: chronic inflammation is associated with the development of atherosclerosis, an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.
A plant diet, on the contrary, reduces inflammation due to the high content of fiber and antioxidants in the diet. In addition, there are significantly fewer triggers of inflammation in this diet, including saturated fat and endotoxins (these substances are released during the decay of bacterial cells).
According to scientists, in people who switched to a plant-based diet, the level of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation, is sharply reduced.
You will become less energetic
On average, a man with a moderately active lifestyle needs 2,400–2,800 calories per day, and a woman has 1,800–2,200 calories. But if you do not eat cereals, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils, it is extremely difficult to get so many calories. To make it easier for you to imagine, 2,200 calories is about 100 cups of chopped cabbage or 23 apples.
Of course, there are more high-calorie vegetables, such as avocados. But even if you diversify plant foods as much as possible, you still have to eat a lot. However, you will not get the type of carbohydrate that gives energy and helps to concentrate.
You will be left without important vitamins and minerals
“In a diet where fruits and vegetables are the only sources of energy, there will be a lack of key nutrients,” says nutritionist Stephanie Di Figlia-Peck. Although many popular diets, including the Mediterranean, have a lot of fruits and vegetables, they also balance other types of foods.
An exceptionally plant-based diet will not provide the body with vitamins B12 and D and will provide little iron. And although spinach and other dark leafy greens are rich in iron, they also contain phytates, which block the absorption of this trace element.
You lose weight
Due to the high content of fiber and water, plant foods quickly give a feeling of satiety. And this helps to eat less and potentially leads to weight loss. Even when we see a full plate of food, we quickly want to set aside a spoon. It seems to the brain that we have already eaten a lot, which means we must be full.
In addition, with this kind of nutrition, you will often go to the toilet, and this also gives a feeling of lightness.
You will often suffer from bloating
Some find it difficult to digest sugars and other carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, which can lead to bloating. But it greatly depends on the characteristics of your body and the intestinal microflora.
Your cholesterol level will drop sharply
According to research, when switching to a vegetable diet, it drops by 35%. In many cases, the decrease is the same as with medication. And this is a very significant result for those who want to lower cholesterol without drugs.
The fact is that fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber. In addition, they do not contain fats and processed sugar, namely these ingredients should be avoided if you want to lower cholesterol.