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Compelling reason to go vegan

Todd Allen

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It’s best to do it right - no surprise here:  Study analyzes dietary and exercise behavior of vegans

This was a small, online study of a relatively young population.

Researchers at the Center for Public Health have now examined the dietary patterns and physical activity behavior of vegans and found a discrepancy between appearance and reality in many cases.

The research group led by Maria Wakolbinger and Sandra Haider from MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health conducted an online survey of 516 people with an average age of 28 who had been vegan for at least three months when the study began. As the responses to the survey demonstrated, "being vegan is not per se synonymous with being 'healthy'," … the degree of processing of the consumed food has to be taken into account

the research team arrived at the distinction between a "health-conscious" and a "convenience" dietary pattern in the vegan lifestyle. Vegans with a convenience-based diet quality (53%) were characterized by a higher consumption of processed fish and meat alternatives, vegan savory snacks, sauces, cakes and other sweets, convenience foods, fruit juices and refined types of grains.

"The negative effects of industrially processed foods on health have now been clearly proven in studies," Maria Wakolbinger emphasizes. "For people who primarily consume convenience foods, a 29% higher risk of overall mortality, up to 51% higher risk of overweight or obesity, 29% higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and 74% higher risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus have been scientifically proven."

In contrast to the convenience food group, vegans (47%) who are classified as health-conscious consume more vegetables, fruit, protein and milk alternatives, potatoes, whole-meal products, vegetable oils and fats, and cook more often with fresh ingredients.

"The physical activity level of vegans is higher overall than that of the average population in Austria. However, as our study illustrated, the health-conscious group is significantly more active than those who belong to the convenience food pattern,"

The term "pudding vegetarianism" has already become established for variants of the vegetarian diet that are unfavorable to health in which, for example, many sweets are consumed instead of meat.

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