Following a vegan diet can be a very healthy way to live. But more and more young people are falling into the habit of eating the same things over and over and forgetting to get other essential nutrients. One orthopaedist has already encountered three young athletes, all of whom were suffering from a problem that is currently being known as ‘pudding veganism’.
Increased risk of injury
When athletes or active people follow a vegan diet, their bodies, bones and muscles need particular attention and care. According to a meta-study that looked at data collected from 20 previous studies and included 37,000 participants; these people had a dramatically increased risk of injury.
‘Vegans were shown to have a one-third higher risk of fatigue rupture than omnivores. (Ronald Dorotka, President of the Professional Association of Austrian Specialists in Orthopaedics)’
According to this study, they may also have a higher risk of suffering a stroke. The orthopaedist Ronald Dorotka has so far encountered three patients who were suffering from painful and swollen thighs, shins and metatarsals. All three of his patients were vegan and were very active, sporty teenagers.
The risk of injury increases if you follow a vegan diet, especially if you don’t consume enough calcium.’
In all three of these cases, the specialist diagnosed them with bone fatigue caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D. They were also at risk of bone fractures.
‘It’s bone fatigue. MRI scans showed fluid retention in their bones – a reaction to the stress. (Orthopaedist Ronald Dorotka)
What is ‘pudding veganism’?
The specialist is by no means advising against being vegan but is warning against the consequences of this particular condition known more commonly nowadays as ‘pudding veganism’. As vegan diets cut out lots of different foods, it’s even more important that you make sure your diet is balanced and full, with all the essential nutrients. This is especially true when it comes to calcium, which lots of people get primarily through dairy products. Since vegans don’t eat these foods, it is very common for them to end up developing a deficiency in it.
‘Pudding veganism’ is a vegan diet that, since it is based solely on plant products, is very one-sided and consists only of processed foods. These people rarely cook their own meals and may, for example, eat only fries with ketchup. Why it is very unhealthy to constantly eat foods like this is self-explanatory and deficiencies are common in cases like this.
Tips on how to get more calcium into your system
Ronald Dorotka advises his patients to try and consume more calcium which can be found in the following foods: nuts, seeds, many green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach leaves, as well as calcium-rich mineral water or other drinks which contain calcium (such as soy drinks). This, combined with exercise, should allow for good bone health. Here are a few fatty foods that are great for strength training (there are also tips for omnivores).