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The trend towards plant nutrition is growing all over the world. Vegetarianism and vegan diets have also become increasingly popular in our country for health, animal protection and ecological reasons. So, what are the effects of vegetarianism on our health, what should we pay attention to in vegan nutrition?

Vegetarianism and vegan diets have also become increasingly popular in our country for health, animal protection and ecological reasons. Vegetarianism, which refers to a lifestyle and culture rather than a diet that can be applied for a short period of time, is a way of eating in which foods of animal origin are consumed in limited quantities or not at all, and plant-based foods are consumed instead of them. Veganism, on the other hand, is a definition made only for people who consume plant foods. So, what are the effects of vegetarianism on our health? What should we pay attention to in vegan nutrition? Turkey Medicals member Turkish Nutritionist and Dietitian explains what is curious about the subject…


The oldest documents on vegetarianism are found in Europe in M.D 6. century BC. So, we are dealing with a fairly old and well-established nutrition culture. Nowadays sergilense about vegetarianism a vegetarian diet for many years, scientific studies and a cautious approach to reducing the risks of some diseases due to the effect of, relating to decreasing biases by adopting this diet this diet is increasingly gaining importance.


In vegetarianism, where there are various forms of nutrition, the nutrients needed for each group may differ. Balanced nutritional problems often for vegetarians, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and fatty acids are taken adequate and balanced nutrients such as seen in a while, according to the experts, the most dangerous thing in this diet, vegan diet, especially in groups. So what are the positive and negative effects of vegetarian nutrition?


– Since it is a diet rich in fiber, it also positively affects the health of the digestive system.

– It is rich in antioxidants.

– A high level of vitamin and mineral intake is provided because it is a diet with a predominance of vegetables and fruits.

– It protects heart health because it does not have saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

– The risk of developing kidney and gallstones is less.

– It helps to lose weight.

– It is protective against some types of cancer.

– Reduces insulin resistance.


– Due to B12 deficiency; pernicious anemia, growth retardation, depression and memory problems may occur.

– Due to insufficient protein intake, amino acid deficiencies may occur and muscle may occur.

– Phytic acid, which is found in high levels in cereal foods, legumes and other plant products, can interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

–  The long term, muscle bone pain, anemia may be observed due to the decrease of these minerals.

– Recent studies have revealed that allergies are also 2 times more common in those who eat this type of food.


Emphasizing that ready-made packaged vegan products should not be approached with the logic of ‘vegan nutrition equals healthy living”, Nutritionist and Dietitian Gizem Gök recommends not to choose products with over-processed, unhealthy fatty acids and excessive carbohydrates, especially noting that the ingredients should be studied.


Fatty acids such as EPA, DHA and alpha linoleic acid are very important for vegetarians. These acids, which cannot be synthesized by the body, play an active role in the development of nerve tissues, brain, eye health and the performance of cardiovascular functions. Insufficient intake of Omega 3 fatty acids leads to visual and learning disorders due to a decrease in the amount of DHA in the brain. In addition, some skin diseases such as drying out of the skin, asthma, arthritis, growth retardation, sugar and some types of cancer, as well as many psychological diseases can occur. EPA and DHA are found in foods of animal origin, especially cold water fish. Alpha linoleic acid, which can be found in vegetable sources that are precursors of omega 3 fatty acids, is converted to EPA and DHA fatty acids, albeit in low amounts in the liver. Therefore, it is an important fatty acid for vegans.

For vegetarians, foods such as walnuts, canola oil, soy, flaxseed, sea vegetables, seaweed and their derivatives are recommended as a source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Some types of vegetarians, on the other hand, can get this source from fish.

Mastering the macronutrient, vitamin and mineral values contained in the foods you consume will save you from uniform nutrition. Thanks to this, knowing what you need, you can add variety to your diet.

Vegans can eliminate iodine deficiencies by using seaweed, iodized salt, or iodine supplements.

Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, soy, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, which are usually widely consumed by vegans, reduce iodine absorption due to their goitrogen content. It is necessary to pay attention to the frequency of use.

Pregnant vegans of childbearing age, who are in the risk group due to low iodine intake, are recommended a daily supplement of 150 mg of iodine. During pregnancy, if the expectant mother is fed iodine-deficient foods, there may be obstacles to mental and physical development in the child.

Enriched breakfast cereals for vegetarians can be used as a source of dried fruits, beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, nuts, whole wheat bread, iron. Yesilmaz

Calcium and tannin reduce the absorption of iron. For this reason, tea, coffee consumption and calcium supplementation should be done a few hours before a meal with a high iron content. It is also recommended that these foods be consumed together with foods containing vitamin C to improve iron absorption.

Dairy products are a natural source of calcium for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Vegans can consume fortified soy formulas, calcium-rich green leafy vegetables, soy milk, soy yogurt, and various calcium supplements. Yesilin is a natural supplement that contains a lot of calcium.

B12 supplementation should be done without fail. In a study conducted, vitamin B12 deficiency was observed in 52% of vegans, 7% of vegetarians and those who eat both animal and vegetable sources.

Soy milk, breakfast cereals, milk and dairy products, eggs, foods fortified with B12 can be used as a source of B12 for vegetarians. Vitamin B12 supplementation is recommended especially for pregnant, lactating vegans and their babies.

In order to meet the need for essential amino acids, the combined intake of cereals, shellfish and seeds or dried legumes such as rice, lentils in the same meal supports the need for protein.

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President of Organ Transplant Center at MedicalPark Hospital Antalya

Turkey's world-renowned organ transplant specialist. Dr. Demirbaş has 104 international publications and 102 national publications.

Physician's Resume:

Born on August 7, 1963 in Çorum, Prof. Dr. Alper Demirbaş has been continuing his work as the President of MedicalPark Antalya Hospital Organ Transplantation Center since 2008.

Prof. who performed the first tissue incompatible kidney transplant in Turkey, the first blood type incompatible kidney transplant, the first kidney-pancreas transplant program and the first cadaveric donor and live donor liver transplant in Antalya. Dr. As of August 2016, Alper Demirbaş has performed 4900 kidney transplants, 500 liver transplants and 95 pancreas transplants.

In addition to being the chairman of 6 national congresses, he has also been an invited speaker at 12 international and 65 national scientific congresses. Dr. Alper Demirbaş was married and the father of 1 girl and 1 boy.


Eczacibasi Medical Award of 2002, Akdeniz University Service Award of 2005, Izder Medical Man of the Year Award of 2006, BÖHAK Medical Man of the Year Award of 2007, Sabah Mediterranean Newspaper Scientist of the Year Award of 2007, ANTIKAD Scientist of the Year Award of 2009, Social Ethics Association Award of 2010, Işık University Medical Man of the Year Award of 2015, VTV Antalya's Brand Value Award of 2015.


Doctor of Medicine Degree Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine Ankara, General Surgeon Ministry of Health Turkey EKFMG (0-477-343-8), University of Miami School of Medicine Member of Multiple Organ Transplant, ASTS Multiorgan Transplant Scholarship. Lecturer at Kyoto University. Lecturer at University of Essen, Research assistant at the University of Cambridge .

Professional Members:

American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Transplantation Society Nominated, Middle East and Southern Africa Council Transplantation Society 2007, International Liver Transplantation Association, Turkish Transplantation Association, Turkish Society of Surgery, Turkish Hepatobiliary Surgery Association.


Our website contents consist of articles approved by our Web and Medical Editorial Board with the contributions of our physicians. Our contents are prepared only for informational purposes for public benefit. Be sure to consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Medically Reviewed by Professor Doctor Alper Demirbaş
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