How going vegan can affect your body and brain
A nutrient-rich vegan diet includes beans, vegetables, and whole grains.
A vegan diet, or one that excludes animal products, can have a lot of health benefits, but it also comes with risks.
Switching to an all-plant plan may help you lose weight and improve your gut health, for example, but it may also raise your risk of certain nutrient deficiencies.
Here’s everything that can happen — both good and bad — to your body if you go vegan.
Your gut microbiome will likely improve.
Research has shown people on a vegan diet tend to have healthier gut microbiomes, or the collection of good bacteria that live in the digestive tract.
This is in part due to the extra fiber vegan eaters can get from a veggie- and whole-grains-rich diet; fiber helps cultivate healthy gut bacteria.
Studies have also suggested that a vegan diet cultivates different types of bacteria than an animal-based diet. Vegans’ bacteria, the findings suggest, can help lower inflammation in the gut and may have other benefits like boosting metabolism.
You might lose weight.
Plant-based diets have long been recommended for weight loss, since vegetables tend to have more nutrients and fewer calories than animal products.
But research has also suggested that going vegan can help overweight people reduce body fat and shed pounds — even if they eat the same number of calories as meat-eaters.
In one study, participants on a vegan diet lost a significant amount of weight compared to those who stuck with their non-vegan eating habits. Nearly two-thirds of the vegans’ weight loss was body fat, researchers found.