There are many arguments about what is the healthiest diet. Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters each claim that their food choices are the best. Even scientists are divided when discussing this issue.
Today we’ll try to answer this question by determining the pros and cons of every one of these diets.
Omnivorous Diet: All Nutrients You Might Need and More
The biggest advantage of a diet that includes all food groups is that it can provide you with all essential nutrients. Considering the fact that some elements are only present in animal foods, this is a very important factor.
For example, vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish, milk, and eggs only. Therefore, excluding these foods forces you to take a supplement as this nutrient essential for maintaining your overall health. People who eat fish regularly also have a higher level of essential omega-3 fats as there are only exceedingly small amounts of them in plant-based foods.
The disadvantage of a diet that includes animal products is that it gives you not only the ‘good’ nutrients. Meat is packed with saturated fats that make your cells less ‘flexible’ and interfere with effective nutrient absorption. It’s also a proven fact that meat-eaters are prone to making unhealthy food choices. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of them cannot really benefit from the larger nutrient pool provided by this diet.
Vegetarian Diet: Essential Nutrients in a Healthy Form
The question of what is the healthiest diet often boils down to a vegan vs. vegetarian, as both of these meal plans have a lower level of saturated fats. Vegetarian diet types are extremely varied, and some of them even include poultry and/or fish.
Vegetarians also usually consume eggs and dairy products, which provide them with calcium and proteins. Overall, if this diet is well-planned, it has no significant disadvantages, so it can be considered the healthiest.
You might need to take some extra iron and vitamin B12 depending on your exact meal plan, but generally even professional athletes can be vegetarians and stay healthy and strong.
Vegan Diet: Good Nutrition and a Healthy Planet
If your reasons for not eating meat are ethical, a vegan diet is the only option for you. There are also many other reasons to go vegan in your lifestyle instead of just your diet. Animal farms of any kind have a huge negative impact on the environment, so closing them down can help make our planet a better place overall.
However, a 100% vegan diet, no matter how well-planned, cannot provide a person with adequate nutrition without the assistance of some supplements and fortified foods. There isn’t a way to get the essential vitamin B12 in any other way, and vegans also often require additional supplementation of calcium, iron, and essential omega-3 fatty acids. These elements can be found in plant-based foods, but only in small amounts.
Conclusion: What Is the Healthiest Diet?
There is no single healthiest diet because any meal plan can be equally good or bad for you. The difference is determined by the way you plan your meals. If you get a sufficient amount of nutrients and your intake of ‘bad’ elements is minimal, you eat healthy.