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Pegan Diet: Pros, Cons, And More

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The Pegan diet is a blend of two types of diets: the paleo diet and a vegan diet. To know about this diet in detail, let’s have a detailed insight into both its types. Paleo diet- This diet may include different food items that our ancestors ate in the past while they used to gather and hunt. Due to this, this diet might even help to protect us from a plethora of modern diseases. It could include different organic, minimally processed, and grass-fed food items. Moreover, the Paleo diet may even be considered good weight loss, as it includes ingredients like herbs, eggs, fish, meat, etc., excluding dairy, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc. A vegan diet- As you must have heard, a vegan diet is quite a trend nowadays. This data may include all plant-based food items like apples, potatoes, onions, etc. Moreover, it excludes every non-vegetarian food item. Hence, the Pegan diet blends both vegan and paleo styles that are famous all over the globe. As a result, if you are focusing on weight loss, you could also add a few of the options from vegan diets. Though both these diets are almost opposite to each other, they could provide myriad types of nutrients required by the body. Dr. Mark Hyman founded the Pegan diet style. He believed that this diet style could curtail inflammation and negate the blood sugar levels in the body.
All About Pegan Diet

Pros Of Pegan Diet

Since a Pegan diet emphasizes more nutrient-dense food items, it offers many advantages to individuals. Let’s have a glance at these advantages.
  • Sustainable

    The Paleo diet is often criticized for its adverse environmental impact as focusing only on consuming meat can be dangerous and may lead to land degradation, water overuse, and air pollution. Here comes the Pegan diet’s role in coping with these adverse impacts. First, the Pegan diet might help to encourage the focus on sustainably raised meat that reduces the negative environmental impact.
  • No or minimum processed foods

    The most important attribute to remember when incorporating a pegan diet into your schedule is to include whole Foods or the least processed foods in your diet. These food items could include nuts excluding peanuts, unrefined coconut oil, seeds excluding the processed seeds, oils or avocado or olive oil that are coldly preserved, and other food sources of Omega 3s. Including the minimum processed or no processed foods in your diet could be good for your health. As the study[1] shows that consuming processed foods could lead to weight gain.
  • Glycemic index

    Glycemic Index is an index that could help you know how to raise your blood glucose level. The pegan diet encourages a low glycemic index, which might help you to regulate[2] the blood sugar level in your body. Hence, a pegan diet could favor people with insulin-related or diabetes issues. You have the option to add low-sugar fruits so that you can manage your blood glucose levels.
  • Fewer restrictions

    Adhering to the vegan or Paleo diet individually might be a challenging task. However, focusing on a paleo diet is in the middle of these two diets and might be less restrictive. Due to this, this diet provides more flexibility, so you could incorporate more fantastic items into your food.

Cons Of Pegan Diet

Just like any other diet, a pegan diet also has several cons. Before initiating this diet, you should always weigh its pros and cons and see if it could benefit you. Let’s have a glance at the different points of this diet.
  • Expensive

    Though there are no particular expensive ingredients in the vegan diet, when you focus on sustainability and high-end meats, it could amplify your budget[3].
  • Deficiencies

    Since the vegan diet focuses on certain ingredients and evades the consumption of others, you may miss out on some of the nutrition. Depending on the type of ingredient you add to your diet, you can miss out on some of the vitamins like B12, calcium and iron, as per the study[4].
  • Difficult to follow

    Even if the pegan diet is less restrictive compared to a paleo or vegan diet, it may still be difficult to adhere to. This could happen when you go to certain social gatherings when you may not be able to enjoy some of the foods like legumes, grains, dairy or even desserts.

Foods To Eat And Avoid In Pegan Diet

Since the pegan diet includes both vegan and paleo diets, it could contain a plethora of food items. You can include all types of vegetables and low glycemic fruits like apples, strawberries, pears, etc. in your pegan diet. Apart from this, you may even aim at adding eggs, seeds and nuts except for peanuts, legumes, sustainably caught fish and meats, and poultry. Prefer using oils[5] rich in healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil, and dairy alternatives[6] without any added sugar in them. Moreover, you could even add minimal quantities of some food items in your pegan diet like black rice, quinoa, dessert or sugars in very limited quantities, and legumes[7] like lentils or beans up to 1 cup per day. Besides these items, there are certain items that are strictly limited in your Pegan diet. Let’s have a look at them.
  • Foods with a higher glycemic index or added sugar[8]
  • Bread and most of the grains like wheat, oats or barley, excluding quinoa and black rice
  • Processed foods[1] like packaged goods
  • Dairy products with added sugar like milk, yogurt, and ice cream.

Health Benefits Of Pegan Diet

Many people follow a vegan diet due to its various health benefits. Since it consists of a 75% vegan diet, a strong emphasis is given to fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are considered a very healthy source of nutrients[9] which should be a must in every diet. They have a good quantity of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc that may help prevent several diseases and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Moreover, the pegan diet has what the vegan diet lacks, so it is a rich source of protein. Apart from this, the unsaturated fat from the ingredient added to the vegan diet may positively affect heart health[10]. As mentioned above, vegan diets restrict any processed foods or added sugars. These foods are low in nutrition, and added sugar may enhance your desire to snack more, leading[1] to unwanted weight gain. The review paper[11] on the pegan diet says that there is no doubt that this diet could help you to be healthier than before.

Conclusion

The pegan diet made by combining vegan and paleo diets is a hybrid type of diet. It has the main principles of both diets- following a 75% vegan diet and a 25% paleo diet. The pegan diet gives much importance to vegetarian food but does not entirely ignore protein-rich non-vegetarian food sources. Pegan diet strongly discourages food items like gluten, dairy, legumes, etc. It might allow several food items in a limited quantity like grains. It emphasizes heart health and inflammation. Though having certain limitations, it is a healthy diet for everyday lifestyle.

References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
  1. Eating highly processed foods linked to weight gain May 21, 2019 Available from: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/eating-highly-processed-foods-linked-weight-gain
  2. Jennie Brand-Miller and Anette E. Buyken The Relationship between Glycemic Index and Health Nutrients. 2020 Feb; 12(2): 536.Published online 2020 Feb 19. doi: 10.3390/nu12020536
  3. Nicole Darmon and Adam Drewnowski Contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic disparities in diet quality and health: a systematic review and analysis Nutr Rev. 2015 Oct; 73(10): 643–660.Published online 2015 Aug 25. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv027
  4. Anna-Liisa Elorinne, Georg Alfthan, Iris Erlund, et al. Food and Nutrient Intake and Nutritional Status of Finnish Vegans and Non-Vegetarians PLoS One. 2016; 11(2): e0148235.Published online 2016 Feb 3. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148235
  5. Octavio Carvajal-Zarrabal, Cirilo Nolasco-Hipolito, Ma. Guadalupe Aguilar-Uscanga, et al. Effect of Dietary Intake of Avocado Oil and Olive Oil on Biochemical Markers of Liver Function in Sucrose-Fed Rats Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 595479. Published online 2014 Apr 17. doi: 10.1155/2014/595479
  6. Sai Kranthi Vanga and Vijaya Raghavan How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol. 2018 Jan; 55(1): 10–20. Published online 2017 Nov 2. doi: 10.1007/s13197-017-2915-y
  7. Viktória Angeli, Pedro Miguel Silva, Danilo Crispim Massuela, et al. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.): An Overview of the Potentials of the “Golden Grain” and Socio-Economic and Environmental Aspects of Its Cultivation and Marketization Foods. 2020 Feb; 9(2): 216.Published online 2020 Feb 19. doi: 10.3390/foods9020216
  8. Rani Polak, Edward M. Phillips, and Amy Campbell Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake Clin Diabetes. 2015 Oct; 33(4): 198–205. doi: 10.2337/diaclin.33.4.198 Know Your Limit for Added Sugars Page last reviewed: January 13, 2022 Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/sugar.html
  9. Fruit and vegetables Reviewed on: 30-09-2011 Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/fruit-and-vegetables
  10. Ambika Satija and Frank B. Hu Plant-based diets and cardiovascular health Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2018 Oct; 28(7): 437–441.Published online 2018 Feb 13. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2018.02.004
  11. Jeffrey S. Bland Why the Pegan Diet Makes Sense Integr Med (Encinitas). 2021 Apr; 20(2): 16–19.

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