From the point of view of the mixture of nutrients that must reach our body, a mixed, plant-based diet would be ideal, so as not to miss out on that 10-20% of calories from animal products
I follow a vegan diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, oilseeds, vegetable drinks. I do not consume ready-made processed vegetable products, which are often rich in salt and fat. Excluding ethical reasons, would it be reasonable from a health point of view to also introduce foods of animal origin?
He replies Andrea Ghisellidirector of the first level Master in Food Science and Applied Dietetics, Unitelma Sapienza (GO TO THE FORUM)
Let’s think about two main factors, plus a third anthropological one. First point: the nutrient composition. Obviously different from food to food, let alone from kingdom to kingdom. Some components are more expressed (or only, in the case of vitamin B12) in the animal kingdom. Others, like the fiber, exclusively in vegetables. Therefore, from the point of view of the mixture of nutrients that must reach our organism, a mixed, plant-based diet would be ideal (i.e. with 80%, but also 90%, of energy from cereals, fruit, vegetables, legumes, dried fruit in shells and vegetable oils), so as not to miss out on that 10-20% of calories from animal products, among them above all fish and dairy products.
The chemistry of foods
You might answer: Ok, this was a long time ago, today with the possibility of integration I can take it B12 and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids without resorting to meat, milk, fish. Here we are at the chemistry of foods, that is, what is inside, which is certainly useful but nutrition is anything but. Even though today hundreds of self-styled nutritionists are all the rage on social media food chemistry: in the courgette there is courgette which is very good for the heart… and so on. But then, after the laboratory that broke down the foods into their components, there is the most interesting part: real everyday life.
Diet and mortality
What happens when a food is consumed, the paths it takes, what it becomes and what it induces, interactions with the microbiota and metabolism, so many of the substances highlighted by the chemist become others, with different characteristics. For example, the digestion of some milk peptides involves the production of other peptides which have a hypotensive effect. But there’s more: if I consume one thing I exclude another and therefore we must know that the composition of food is another thing compared to nutrition. Having said this, we have strong evidence that the consumption of some animal products is protective against mortality from all causes.
Energy from animals
So I should answer you yes, the introduction of animal products improves the diet, but in reality we have no certain evidence that it improves health. We have indirect evidence. Finally the anthropological discussion: we are born omnivoresevidently we derive health from both plant and animal products. In nature, thousands of years ago, it was very difficult for man to obtain energy from animals. Some insects, some remains of animals hunted by others, but few. Exactly as we should do today, despite the great availability of foods of animal origin: do by virtue what our ancestors did by necessity.
Corriere della Sera also on Whatsapp. sufficient click here to subscribe to the channel and always be updated.
February 3, 2024 (modified February 3, 2024 | 3:48 pm)
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED