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Veganuary: This happens after 7, 30 and 365 days of a vegan diet

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Veganuary: This happens after 7, 30 and 365 days of a vegan diet

Consequences for the body: This is what happens when you eat a vegan diet – after 7, 30 and 365 days

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There is no genetic engineering in the plant

But don’t worry: they are genetically modified

Every January, the British organization “Veganuary” calls for a vegan month – meat, fish and dairy products are taboo. Most people take part for health reasons. What changes in the body through a plant-based diet?

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If you want to eat vegan long-term, you need to know how. Because inadequate preparation can result in deficiency symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get comprehensive information before changing your diet.

Exciting, but no time right now?

Vegan for a month – for the sake of your health

The British organization “Veganuary”, which calls for people to avoid all meat, fish and dairy products in January, is taking its participants by the hand: they will be sent emails with recipes and tips about veganism for 31 days provided.

According to the organization, 500,000 people worldwide have taken part in the campaign so far, and for 46 percent of them, health played a major role. 34 percent cited “animals” as their motivation, twelve percent took part for reasons of climate protection.

German meat consumption

According to the Federal Office of Agriculture and Food, Germans’ annual per capita meat consumption was 60.15 kilograms in 2018. The German Society for Nutrition recommends about half the amount. Germans still prefer to eat pork – 35.7 kilograms in 2018 – almost 60 million pigs are slaughtered in Germany every year. Germans’ second favorite food is poultry – it was just under 13 kilograms last year. According to the 2019 Federal Nutrition Report, 28 percent of Germans eat meat every day – a decline compared to previous years. In 2018 there were 30, in 2017 it was 34 percent. Six percent of Germans eat a vegetarian diet and one percent are vegan.

Vegan nutrition is still controversial in research

However, researchers disagree about the health consequences of a vegan diet.

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The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics considers a “well-planned” vegan diet to be “appropriate” and “helpful” at all stages of life – it can have a preventive effect on cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, various types of cancer and obesity .

“Specialist societies from other countries (e.g. from Australia, Canada, Portugal) follow this assessment,” writes the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) – but is holding back on making a recommendation; The risk of nutrient deficiencies is too great.

More on the subject of renunciation:

Drinking too much? – This is what happens when you give up alcohol – after 1, 7, 30 or 365 days
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Slimmer, more beautiful, fitter – this is what happens to your body when you give up sugar – after 1, 7, 30, 365 days

“If you still want to follow a vegan diet, you should take a vitamin B12 supplement permanently, make sure you get enough of the critical nutrients in particular and, if necessary, use fortified foods and nutrient supplements,” explains the DGE on its website.

Vegans should also have their blood values ​​checked regularly. For pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants, children and young people, the nutrition experts at the DGE strictly advise against a purely plant-based diet.

What happens in the body – after a week, a month, a year?

What does avoiding meat, fish and dairy products really do? How long does abstinence have to last before a noticeable change occurs? What happens after a week, a month, a year?

FOCUS Online spoke to two experts: Diana Rubin from the German Society for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM) and Petra Bracht, a specialist in general and nutritional medicine in Bad Homburg.

About the expert

Diana Rubin heads the Vivantes Center for Nutritional Medicine in Berlin-Reinickendorf. The nutrition expert is also on the board of the “German Society for Nutritional Medicine” and heads the nutrition committee of the “German Diabetes Society”.

About the expert

Petra Bracht has been a general practitioner and naturopath for more than thirty years. She specializes in nutritional medicine and has seen in her practice for many years how people become healthy through intermittent fasting. In her book “Intermittent Fasting: For a Long Life – Slim and Healthy” (advertisement) she is dedicated to the health effects of intermittent fasting.

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After a week of vegan diet

More awareness: Switching to a plant-based diet requires a lot of knowledge about food. Someone who decides to eat vegan becomes more aware of what they eat and, if necessary, creates a nutrition plan. According to Bracht, the following generally applies: “Those who eat a vegan diet live more mindfully. He looks carefully at what is on his plate and is more likely to choose high-quality products.”

For the expert, who has been vegan for 30 years, this is a particularly important argument for veganism. Because: “At least 80 percent of illnesses result from poor nutrition. So the best investment in our health is the food we give our bodies.”

Better digestion, better sleep: “After just one week you will feel significantly more alert and fitter. Your digestion works better, which also benefits your sleep,” says Bracht. While digestion for omnivores can take between 24 and a maximum of 72 hours, plant-based foods are digested after six to twelve hours.

Weight loss: “If you switch to a vegan diet, you will lose weight quickly without having to go hungry. “One to two kilos less on the scale after the first week is not uncommon,” says the expert. However, this is usually water retention, not fat. “Nevertheless, you simply feel lighter, which in turn has a positive effect on your general well-being.”

More about nutrition

After a month of vegan diet

Better blood values: According to Rubin, the first measurable changes begin after a month. A medical check of the blood values ​​should therefore show: “The LDL cholesterol value falls, as does the blood sugar level. High blood pressure also normalizes due to the high potassium intake with a vegan diet.”

According to Bracht, this eliminates the need to take fat-lowering medications. High blood pressure medications should also be reduced after the first few weeks in consultation with your doctor: “Otherwise your blood pressure will plummet.”

The nutritional doctor adds: “Just like the cholesterol level, the uric acid level is decreasing and patients with fatty liver disease can be happy about their regression.”

After a year of a vegan diet

After a year, the effects on health become more apparent – ​​provided vegans keep an eye on their vitamin B12 levels. Anyone who lacks vitamin B12 has an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia.

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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is actually a collective term for various cobalamins, such as hydroxycobalamin and adenosylcobalamin in fish and meat, and methylcobalamin in milk. As a coenzyme, vitamin B12 is involved in various metabolic processes in the body. The problem: The body cannot produce it itself and it is essential for life. The main tasks of vitamin B12:

It is involved in cell renewal and blood formation. It stabilizes DNA. It protects nerves and brain. It supports protein and fat metabolism. Vitamin B12 converts the unfavorable homocysteine ​​into the less harmful methionine. Homocysteine ​​is an amino acid that damages blood vessels, promotes arteriosclerosis and is linked to heart attacks and strokes.

So what about vitamin B12? Vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that vegans cannot absorb through their diet, but must supplement permanently and consistently. However, it can take years until the vitamin B12 stores are used up, explains Rubin.

For her, however, this is the reason why she would not recommend a vegan diet: “I generally do not advocate nutritional supplements, but vitamin B12 supplementation is essential for vegans. I would therefore recommend a vegetarian diet.” Vegetarians get vitamin B12 through the consumption of dairy products and eggs.

Vitamin B12 is also supplied to animals through their feed

Vegan Petra Bracht, on the other hand, sees no problems here. Some animals also need to be given vitamin B12 because they do not have enough of it themselves – pigs and poultry, for example: “For them, vitamin B12 is mixed into the animal feed, so it is simply supplemented elsewhere.”

She doesn’t understand why this discussion even exists: “Dietary supplements are bad, while at the same time more and more people have to take cholesterol, high blood pressure or blood sugar lowering drugs due to an unbalanced meat-based diet.”

Instead, she herself has “fantastic blood values”, her body has adjusted to her desired weight, and overall she feels more powerful, more beautiful and therefore more comfortable in her body – an effect that would occur after just one year of being vegan.


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