Due to the fact that I was vegan for a year, I can answer this not only based on scientific results, but also from my own experience.
But let's start with the scientific findings: You only have to look at the self-tests of various people who had their own blood values and body composition examined before and after a vegan diet of several weeks. As an example, the radiologist Dr. Raj Attariwala, who took part in a 8-week vegan diet with 4 other people. "I'm a skinnier, fatter guy than I was before." was not only his result, but also that of 7 other of the 8 participants. He lost weight, but mostly muscle, and even gained visceral fat. Why? Because his body has had an incredibly tough 4 weeks chasing down essential amino acids. If these are missing from the diet, your own muscles will be drained.
I too have had this experience. In the years 2014 to 2015 I ate vegan.
Initially, of course, euphoric and obsessed with the new "I'm vegan" trend - "Let's search the city for vegan cafes, I'm part of the vegan community" and "meat disgusts me". People like to associate themselves with a group, shared views strengthen the sense of community and belonging - here it was the soybean meal. Unfortunately, I didn't question and research in depth at the time what a purely plant-based diet would do to my body in the long term.
I bought vegan substitute products such as "like chicken", "soy strips" or vegan sausages. These products in particular are often the biggest piece of garbage that the supermarket has on hand because they are made from highly processed and pressed soy or wheat gluten. With plenty of flavor enhancers, E-substances and They are pressed into meat-like forms with sugar, which is an extreme burden on our bodies.
After six months (more or less surprisingly) I got vitamin B12 deficiency and intestinal problems, among other things due to the high proportion of lectins in the diet. I remember lying on the sofa with the flu and dying for nothing more than Mom's homemade chicken soup. Here, for the first time, I asked myself the question of whether it was justified to demonize all animal products. My body craved it because I think it would have liked the healing enzymes in chicken broth to repair itself during the flu season.
But for a few more months I denied my body the animal proteins. That was stupid - looking back - because I wasn't doing well with it in terms of health and also as far as body composition was concerned, I was at that time, yes I would say almost a bit skinny fat. At least I didn't have a six pack. To be fair, I have to say that I cannot attribute my body composition to diet alone, as I only started intensive strength training after my vegan phase. When I started strength training, I dropped my vegan beliefs and informed myself instead of being inspired by trends. I learned that quality is more important than a categorical avoidance of animal products.
If you're going completely vegan, you'll probably need to add a few extra pounds.
This is because your body has a hard time extracting all of the amino acids from plant-based foods over the long term. As a result, you end up eating more calories than you expend to meet your protein needs (this may not always be the case, but it is likely). In addition, there is an almost necessary supplementation with missing vitamins if you do not want to eat sauerkraut every day to cover the B12 budget (and B12 is only mentioned here as an example, because there are usually far more vitamins and amino acids missing). So how healthy is a diet that requires additional supplementation and gives you a little extra visceral fat?
Why then do so many report that they are suddenly doing so well with a vegan diet and are now healthier than ever?
Torturing Animals and What The Health? It can't all be bullshit what they're saying, can it? Like Attila Hildmann, for example, who now turns his noodles out of zucchini and makes animals out of the tofu block. Well, it's actually not surprising when someone (like Attila Hildmann) comes out of a fast food diet high in processed, fatty, low-quality meat and dairy products and suddenly starts replacing sausage with lettuce wraps - plausibly this is an upgrade to their previous diet and his body suddenly gets a lot more nutrients and vitamins from vegetables than just from wheat and white sausage. The next upgrade comes with wild salmon, organic eggs and bone broth.
When I finish with that, the question often comes up: What do you think of the Carnivoren Diet? What if I only eat meat? Hell no, from one extreme to the next, we're not rabbits, we're not lions either. Not only are they completely different anatomically from our gastrointestinal tract, they also have completely different intestinal bacteria and which person would have lived exclusively on meat in the past? How does that work? Make a catch every day and eat fresh venison steak 4 times a day? Absolutely impossible because of the durability alone, unless you live like the Inuit in the ice and everything you catch freezes instantly under your fingers. But even the Inuit looked for potatoes to provide themselves with some carbohydrates. Because the resistant starch in certain carbohydrate sources is even essential for the functioning and survival of our intestinal bacteria.
So keep it simple, keep it natural.
"Eat wild, perform best" is not so good for me for nothing, whereby the "wild" stands for "as unprocessed and varied as possible". As nice as they sound, I'm "vegan, paleo, carnivore, keto" on the go, how about a balanced one? For me, balanced means that I sometimes eat my oatmeal with goat casein, sometimes with lupine protein and sometimes not at all. What does it mean to you to eat a balanced diet?