What is vegan food?



The concept of veganism consists in a rejection of the use of products that come from non-human animals, whether for food, clothing, cosmetics, medicines, etc. Except pets.

The term vegan was born in 1944 to differentiate it from vegetarianism, which at the nutritional level accepts food of animal origin as long as it does not imply its sacrifice.

Types of vegans

According to the approach given to this vision, different veganisms are established:

         * Ethical veganism: is the adoption of this way of life out of respect for other animals, therefore, rejects animal products and services not only in food but in all areas.
         * Environmental Veganism: it consists in the adoption of this way of life for environmental reasons, arguing this through the harmful effects of catching and raising animals, considering it unsustainable.
         * Dietary veganism or so-called strict veganism, is the adoption of veganism for its health benefits through a diet with no animal products.

If we focus on the vision of veganism from a dietary approach, there are different types of vegetarian diets:

         * Ovolactovegetariana: it is a diet that eliminates meat and fish and their derivatives and includes plant-based foods, eggs and dairy products
         * Vegetarian ovo: the only food of animal origin in the diet of these people are eggs.
         * Vegan: only includes foods of plant origin.

As for the diet of a vegan compared to a vegetarian they would only differ in that in strict vegan diets neither egg nor dairy products are included since they ensure that the production of these foods causes the suffering of these animals. Another interesting aspect has to do with those products made by insects (honey), before these products there are disagreements between different groups of vegans since it is considered that beekeeping could be cruel and exploitative.

Vegan population growth

If we talk about the growth of vegan people, it is concluded that in the 21st century it is said that a diet of animal origin could be harmful to health, therefore, a diet of low-fat vegetable origin that could reverse certain chronic diseases is proposed such as coronary heart disease or certain cancers.

Studies from different countries conclude that vegans constitute between 1-2% of the population.


In the diet with absence of animal products, the following foods are found forming the nutritional pyramid:

         * Cereal grains: which constitute the base of the pyramid
         * Vegetables and fruits: there must be a good proportion of these foods, taking into account that you should see more servings of vegetables than fruit for their caloric density
         * Legumes and nuts: they are the protein source of this diet.
         * Fats and fatty foods: for vegetarians it is important that the contribution of omega-3 oil and this oil is abundant in seed and avocado fruits.
         * Foods rich in calcium: the source of this component comes from fruit and vegetables due to the absence of dairy in this type of diet.

A diet based on the elimination of proteins of animal origin is associated with beneficial properties for cardiovascular diseases, protection against cancers, metabolic activity etc. However, the elimination of these products in the diet has negative effects and can cause significant nutritional deficiencies, among which the lack of Vitamin B12 stands out.

The deficiency of this vitamin can cause vascular alterations and a greater probability of developing diseases such as atherosclerosis, among other negative aspects is an increased risk of bone fractures due to an inadequate calcium intake.

Vegan diets that are well planned can be richer in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, phytochemicals and lower in calories, saturated fats and cholesterol. However, an incorrectly constituted diet for vegan people can cause vitamin D, calcium, omega-3 and iodine deficiency in addition to the vitamin B12 mentioned above.

Therefore, based on research collected there are no studies that opt ​​for a definitive conclusion regarding the benefits and harms of this diet, the only important thing in these diets is an appropriate planning with food that can overcome possible deficiencies arising from the absence of products of animal origin.


Irene Parra

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Irene Parra

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