Vegetarianism and its stricter form of veganism belong to the alternative directions of eating. Vegetarianism is further divided into other subtypes, as lactoovovegetarianism, when you may eat dairy products and eggs, ovovegetarianism, which allows you to eat only eggs but not dairy products, or pescetarianism, when there are allowed fish and seafood. Simply said, vegetarianism is nutritional direction in which is eating meat and meat products completely discarded. Veganism is an even stricter nutritional direction, as all animal products are excluded from the diet, ie meat, fish, dairy products, eggs and honey.
However, there are different risks associated with each alternative diet. If an adult is a vegetarian, he must take care of a sufficient supply of proteins and especially perfect amino acids composition, which our body needs. Essential amino acids (valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine and threonine) are these, which our body cannot make on its own, and therefore must be intaken from food. The best sources are meat, dairy products, eggs, legumes and cereals. If someone eats according to vegetarian principles, they should pay attention to the right combination of dishes – for example use legumes with cereals. There is a risk of high consumption of fiber per day (more than 30 g), which means that you can prevent the absorption of minerals (iron, zinc, calcium). Not to mention that other substances are easily absorbed from animal products than from plant products, see iron. It is certainly not possible to say that this nutritional direction is somehow harmful to the body, it is only important to monitor the intake of certain nutrients and minerals to avoid muscle loss, anemia and malnutrition.
On the contrary, veganism is already a nutritional direction, which experts do not find completely beneficial to the body. If a person becomes a vegan, he is in danger of a lack of minerals (calcium, iron, etc.) over time. In addition, there is a deficiency of vitamin B12, which can be found only in animal products, and its deficiency in the body leads to anemia, peripheral nerve damage, but even depression or dementia. Vegans may also lack vitamin D, which is important for bone mineralization, respectively to prevent osteoporosis (bone thinning).
Vegetarianism and especially veganism are absolutely not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and especially for children. These population groups need all the essential nutrients and minerals for proper development. It has been proven that a vegan diet can have a negative effect on the development of the brain and body, so children raised in veganism may not achieve such intelligence and growth as its peers, who ate rationally.
So if you decide whether to switch to some type of alternative diet, keep in mind that it is important to monitor your intake of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins so that your body can still function properly.