That being said, going vegan is a major lifestyle overhaul — and not for everyone. There can be many nutrients, vitamins (the likes of B12, Protein, Calcium, Vitamin D and Zinc) missing from the diet which you need to substitute. Apart from this, a vegan diet plan can also expose you to certain side effects, such as the one Hollywood actor Liam Hemsworth experienced.
The 30-year-old Australian actor, in a recent interview, admitted that he underwent surgery for his kidney stones, which he said was probably linked to eating so many vegetables, as part of his vegan diet.
Adding that the medical diagnosis made him reconsider his super healthy diet plan (which, by the way, included heavyweights like spinach, plant protein as part of his breakfast smoothie), Liam said that it was tough to know that vegan diet had put him at risk for health complications:
” It was one of the most painful weeks of my life (suffering from kidney stones). This is what I considered super healthy. So I had to completely rethink what I was putting in my body… Once you get one kidney stone, you have a 50% chance of getting another one if you continue eating the way you were eating.”
While Liam’s case is albeit a different one, a number of celebs, in the recent past have quit veganism. Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Hathaway, Beyonce and husband Jay-Z, former US President Bill Clinton and ex-royal Meghan Markle are all famous ex-vegans, making many focus on the limitations and shocking ill-effects of the diet.
The link between veganism and kidney complications
Being vegan is a hard job as it does expose you to a lot of health deficiencies. Even though some might think that vegetables alone cause a lot less risk (and green is always healthy than any animal produce), it might not always be the case. For one, veganism requires you to include a lot of vegetables in your diet-which might be super high on starch or a certain substance called ‘oxalates’.
Oxalates, by nature, are naturally found in many foods, including some vegetables like spinach, potatoes, chocolate and almonds. Although it’s not possible to avoid consuming oxalates, with a vegan diet, the risk runs rather high. Oxalate usually binds to calcium in the body during digestion and gets eliminated as by-products. However, with a vegan diet, when other deficiencies get unbalanced, it disrupts the flow and ends up as build up which can cause kidney stones.
Kidney stones are also one of the most feared complications of following any fad diet. A study by NCBI states that a vegan diet is rather associated with a high prevalence of severe hyperuricemia and uric acid nephrolithiasis. Researches also say that vegans tend to have more uric acid in their urine, which is a great risk addition.
Apart from this, too much sodium or calcium can be a risk factor for the production of crystals which lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Too much sodium, or table salt, for instance, can be a risk factor for kidney stones, because it can increase the amount of calcium in your urine, which forms the basis of the crystals that make up a kidney stone.
So should you skip being vegan?
That being said, it isn’t necessary that being vegan doesn’t cut it for you. Like Liam referenced, it is important to do your thorough research before committing to a diet.
For those who have decided to shift from a completely heavy non-vegetarian diet plan to veganism, it’s vital that you take care of your “new” nutrient deficiencies. Supplement where you can find natural sources of protein, calcium, zinc and other vitamins and minerals which you cannot compromise on.
Like with any diet plan, remember to have a balanced view and do not go all-in at once. Study the pros and cons, keep your lifestyle in mind and at the same time, do not skimp out on hydration levels, which is something we all tend to take lightly.