According to Great Hippocrates, food is medicine. Since time immemorial, there has been a rise in many different types of dietary regimes. Few of them did not last very long. However, diets like Paleo and Vegan remain popular and crowd-favorite. In 2015, Dr. Mark Hyman introduced a new diet approach – the Pegan diet.
An Overview of the Pegan Diet: What Is It?
Pegan diet is the latest dietary program that combines paleo and vegan styles of eating. Paleo follows a diet plan that ancient people used to eat. It consists mainly of whole foods. Vegan, on the other hand, avoids animal products.
Its maker, Dr. Mark Hyman believes that pursuing a plant-based meal plan counteracts inflammatory processes and arrests the development of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes. Pegan diet also supports the idea of mindful eating – to only consume what your body can. No more, no less. And that, it is not on how much the person eats but what he eats.
Dr. Mark Hayman: The Man Behind the Pegan Invention
Dr. Mark Hayman is an American internal medicine specialist based in California. He is a nutrition and wellness activist who has a passion for Functional Medicine. He is the Board President for Clinical Affairs for The Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr. Hayman is also the creator and director of the UltraWellness Centre.
It is a functional medicine practice that comprises health experts who aim to support people in achieving vitality and optimal health by addressing the root cause of the disease. Besides, Dr. Hayman is a writer. He is the 13th time New York Times’ best-selling author. He also appears in shows like Dr. Oz and CNN as a guest co-host, medical adviser, and contributor.
Foods You Can Eat in Pegan Diet
Pegan dieters eat mostly plant-based nearly all the time. That comprises two (2) to three (3) vegetable portions every meal. They also focus more on the intake of proteins and fats instead of carbohydrates. The following are the foods Pegan followers eat:
- Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts
- Edible seeds, such as flaxseeds, sesame
- Omega-3 fat sources, such as fatty fish, tuna, sardines
- Healthy oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil
Foods You Cannot Eat in Pegan Diet
Many people find the Pegan diet less restrictive in comparison to Paleo and Vegan meal plans. The diet permits occasional consumption of several food products. Pegan eaters can still eat sugar, beans, gluten-free grains, and animal products but to a limited extent only. However, the following are food groups that Pegan followers do not eat:
- Refined, carbohydrate-rich products, such as bread, pasta, cereals
- Vegetable oils and kind, such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, palm oil, canola
- Saturated fats, such as takeaway meals, processed meat, and food products
- Peanuts. Peanuts are a saturated fat source.
- Milk and dairy products
- Gluten-made grains, such as barley, wheat, rye
Dr. Hayman believes that eating these food products elevate blood sugar levels, activates inflammatory responses, and stimulates autoimmunity reactions.
The Strongest Points of Pegan Diet
Pegan diet has convincing benefits to health. The following are the reasons why people should consider following the Pegan meal plan:
- The diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables. They are a great source of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. They also contain zero to little calories and fats. Fruits and vegetables are a powerful defense against chronic diseases, particularly heart problems and cancer.
- It focuses on food with a low glycemic load. Glycemic load refers to the number of food a person eats to elevate blood sugar level. Thus, the Pegan diet is an ideal meal plan for people with unstable blood sugar or problems with insulin sensitivity.
- Dr. Hyman supports unprocessed and organic food products; therefore, making the Pegan diet a planet-friendly and animal-friendly dietary regime.
- Both Paleo and Vegan diets promote weight loss. Thus, Pegan eaters are likely to benefit from this too.
The Limitations of Pegan Diet
No diet is perfect. Just like any other diet fads, the Pegan diet has areas for improvement. Studies are underway. And, there is yet no clinical evidence that concludes the benefits of the Pegan diet.
- Pegan diet stirs confusion about what is healthy. Many studies support that consumption of dairy and whole grains brings many health benefits. Such belief is contrary to Pegan’s idea.
- Expensive and limited access. Not all people have access to organic farming. While organic food products are healthy, nutrition-packed, eco-friendly, and consider animal welfare, they are at a higher price point. Besides, there isn’t a wide range of food products that people can choose from.
Who It Would be Suitable For/ Who Should Avoid It
Pegan meal plans are suitable for people who are trying to lose weight and diabetes. The diet does not recommend consumption of (refined) carbohydrates-rich foods and saturated fats. Pegan diet is a restricted form of nutritional therapy. In saying that, it may not be the diet of choice for people who are not comfortable with many prohibitions on what they eat.
People who also have limited access to organic food may find it challenging to adhere to the Pegan diet long term. Finally, following the diet can be upsetting and bothersome for dairy consumers as there are limited alternatives for them in place.
The Pegan diet is a new diet fad that combines the nutrition principles of paleo and vegan. For Pegan eaters, vegetables and fruits are the main courses while the meat is a side dish. Pegan diet centers on eating whole and fresh food options. The health benefits of the Pegan diet are pretty clear.
If you want to lose weight or live a healthier life, the Pegan diet is definitely for you. However, the diet may not be worth trying if the restrictions and limitations stress you out. It is important to remember that nutrition does not only make up the components of healthy living. With a proper diet, people should exercise regularly, get good quality sleep, manage stress, and strengthen mental health to achieve optimal health and wellness.