More and more people are eating vegan, often for the sake of their own health.
However, one expert warns against certain meatless alternatives because they are by no means healthier.
Berlin - Still trendy: vegan or vegetarian nutrition.
Vegan means avoiding animal products.
More and more Germans are banning not only meat and fish from their diet, but also dairy products, eggs and honey.
According to a survey conducted as part of the Allensbach market and advertising medium analysis, around 1.58 million people in Germany were eating vegan in 2022, almost twice as many as six years ago.
There are many reasons for changing your diet.
Most vegans do without animal products for animal welfare and the environment.
For the sake of their own health, more and more people are eating vegan.
Because a purely plant-based diet is often considered to be particularly healthy - rightly so?
Vegan substitute products - According to nutritionists "unhealthy to deadly"
In fact, you cannot equate a vegan diet with a healthy diet.
Internist and nutritionist Dr.
Matthias Riedl is skeptical about most meat-free alternative products.
"Most vegan substitute products are purely chemical and nothing more than ultra-high-processed finished products," he says
: "This hype about substitute products is unhealthy to deadly, has nothing to do with healthy eating - and is then also sold totally overpriced."
According to Dr.
Riedl be dispensed with.
That increases the risk of stroke.
Also problematic are phosphates, which can be found in schnitzel substitutes, for example, because they not only cause skin and muscles to age faster, but also increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and osteoporosis.
Studies show: Eliminate heavily processed foods from your diet
According to rtl.de
, the nutritionist bases his thesis
on two studies in particular.
One is the 2021 Framingham Offspring study, Ready Meals and Heart Disease, and the other is the Processed Foods and Crohn's Disease Cohort Study, also from 2021.
The Framingham Offspring study is one of the most important epidemiological studies in the United States.
Since 1948 she has analyzed the population of the city of Framingham in Massachusetts, USA.
The study will see 3,000 participants with an average age of 54 every four years.
It turned out that highly processed foods are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as circulatory disorders, stroke or heart attack and a higher mortality rate.
The Processed Foods and Crohn's Disease cohort study examined US health care workers.
The focus of this study was to find out whether there is a connection between the consumption of highly processed foods and the risk of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The study, which involved 245,112 participants, found that consuming the highly processed foods actually increases the risk of developing Crohn's disease but not ulcerative colitis.
For a vegan diet, internist Dr.
Matthias Riedl on avoiding processed foods.
© IMAGO/Addictive Stock/Liliya Solopova
Riedl is particularly critical of many of the vegan substitute products because they are extremely processed and particularly chemical in comparison to other finished products.
Vegan diet: healthy or unhealthy?
However, it is not possible to say in general whether a vegan diet is healthy or unhealthy.
"It really depends on the entirety of the food composition," says Andreas Hahn, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the Leibniz University in Hanover, as
The key lies in a balanced diet, both in a purely plant-based and in all other forms of nutrition.
It is important to include legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit and whole grain products in your diet.
However, vegans should not do without supplements entirely.
"In any case, vegans should be strongly advised to take a vitamin B12 supplement," says the nutritionist.
Otherwise, there is a risk of anemia and damage to the nerves, including dementia.
Rubric list image: © IMAGO/Addictive Stock/Liliya Solopova