Vegan may be trendy but raw foods are not: Post Zhanna D'Art’s death experts press alarm button

While turning vegan is becoming increasingly trendy, some health nuts go too far and only eat plant foods that can be ingested without cooking

By Anoushka Caroline Williams  Published on  9 Aug 2023 6:27 AM GMT
Vegan may be trendy but raw foods are not: Post Zhanna DArt’s death experts press alarm button

Hyderabad: Zhanna D'Art, a Russian vegan influencer, was revered and followed by millions of people throughout the world for her "healthy" dietary choices. She was a celebrity because she adhered to the raw vegan diet. It slowly but steadily killed the 39-year-old.

Zhanna died of starvation while on a raw vegan diet, according to reports. The culinary influencer, who had over a million followers on her social media profile, was offered medical care on her Southeast Asia trip but died on July 21.

If you're still following Zhanna's advice, stop right now!

What is Veganism?

Veganism is a diet that is entirely plant-based and eliminates all animal products. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all part of a healthy vegan diet. While turning vegan is becoming increasingly trendy, some health nuts go too far and only eat plant foods that can be ingested without cooking.

A raw vegan diet consists entirely of raw foods and is based on the belief that processed foods are harmful to one's health. Experts caution that a purely raw vegan diet, which Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore both support, may cause more damage than good in the long term.

Veganism may be chosen for a variety of reasons, including ethics, religion, spiritual considerations, health, and environmental concerns, according to nutritionist Dr. Jyoti Chabria. Furthermore, many people are allergic or intolerant to dairy.

What went wrong with Zhanna's Diet?

Despite the numerous supporters of the vegan diet, there are certain risks connected with it.

Vitamin and mineral shortages have been related to the raw vegan diet; because the raw vegan diet eliminates a large range of foods, there is a danger that a person may not acquire all of the vitamins and minerals they require.

According to a 2019 study, the raw vegan diet may be deficient in proteins, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, selenium, and zinc.

A lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia, neurological system damage, infertility, heart problems, and poor bone health in the uninitiated.

A raw vegan diet study discovered a link between the diet and decreased bone density. A person with poor bone density is more likely to suffer from bone fractures and osteoporosis.

According to research, the raw vegan diet has a deleterious effect on menstruation, with roughly 30% of those under the age of 45 on long-term raw food diets experiencing irregular periods or having their periods cease completely.

"Mindfully balanced planned vegan diets have been found to satisfy nutritional needs while also having numerous health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and a variety of other conditions," Dr. Jyoti explains.

"Vegan uncooked and unprocessed foods exclude all animal-derived foods and consist solely of raw food. The underlying principle is that food should be consumed either fully raw or cooked to temperatures between 104 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit (40 and 48 degrees Celsius). The diet's key components include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, and legumes, with the goal of eliminating processed foods," she explains.

“When all animal products are removed from the diet, the danger of nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids increases. As a result, it is critical to consume supplements to help with deficiencies," Dr. Jyoti warns.

According to nutritionist Dr. Deepa Agarwal, the diet can help improve the immune system while omitting processed foods can help stabilize blood sugar levels, stimulate metabolism, improve detoxification, and promote hormone health and weight control.

"While it has benefits," Dr. Agarwal emphasizes, "We must only adopt a diet that aligns with our body, mind, and soul. I believe in bio-individuality, where one diet does not fit all, so I would not limit myself to raw foods.”

“I am aware of my body's needs, and I prefer a mix of cooked and raw foods like fruits, nuts or seeds, and salads," says the renowned nutritionist, who recommends a similar approach for everyone rather than a strict diet.

Eat a well-balanced diet to live a well-balanced life!

Before deciding on a diet, consider the following:

1. Will this improve my health or lead to starvation?

2. Should I seek the advice of a professional?

The Risks of a Fruit-Only Diet

Can fruits provide all of the macronutrients we require? The answer is an emphatic NO!

"Remember that a balanced diet includes carbs, proteins, fats, and adequate fiber. We can't just choose one category for optimal life. Because not all fruits have a low GI, eating sugary fruits on a daily basis can result in high sugar levels," explains Dr. Jyoti.

Deepika Chalasani, another nutritionist, believes Zhanna's death is a terrible reminder of the necessity of a balanced diet. "While a vegan diet can be healthy, relying solely on raw foods poses significant challenges," she believes.

Deepika warns that raw vegan diets may be deficient in critical nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, Vitamin B12, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids: "Protein deficiency can lead to muscle wasting and weakness, while an iron deficiency can cause anemia, fatigue, and compromised immunity."

She highlights that severe diets need meticulous planning and monitoring. "It's critical to get enough nutrients from plant-based sources like legumes, nuts, seeds, fortified foods, and leafy greens. Vegans must take vitamin B12 supplements," she explains.

Those on restrictive diets should contact a trained dietitian or nutritionist on a regular basis to examine their nutritional condition and change their eating plan accordingly.

"Each person's nutritional needs are unique, and professional guidance can prevent deficiencies and promote overall health," says Deepika.

When addressed correctly, veganism may be beneficial.

Vegan nutrition and fitness specialist Kuntal Joisher believes that it is critical to understand that veganism, as a dietary choice, can be healthy and helpful when undertaken responsibly, with proper information and planning.

"A well-balanced vegan diet can supply all of the nutrients required for overall health and well-being. Tens of millions of vegans are prospering and in excellent health and fitness all over the world. However, a 100% raw vegan diet, particularly one that is highly restrictive, may present challenges in meeting essential nutritional requirements such as B12, D3, zinc, and, most importantly, protein," Kuntal notes.

Pros and Cons of Veganism


- A vegan diet aids with weight loss.

- Vegans have a lower risk of severe disease.

- There are other sources of B-12, which is an important vitamin.

- Plant proteins are becoming increasingly accessible.

- Veganism is more environmentally friendly.


- Rapid weight loss might result in malnutrition.

- Vegan diets are deficient in several essential elements.

- Protein from pulses might cause indigestion and bloating.

- Choosing your food based on activism might lead to poor health decisions.

Bottom line: Choose what is best for you, your values, and your body

The best diet for every individual will ultimately rely on aspects such as age, fitness levels, general health, and personal food preferences. A vegan diet can likely be useful for weight reduction and health, assuming no serious ailments such as diabetes or renal problems. However, to guarantee you're doing it in the best way possible for your health, Dr. Jyoti recommends seeking expert advice both at the start and along the road.

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