The Pegan Diet is a combination of the Paleo Diet and the Vegan Diet and is said to have health benefits.
However, the diet may be too restrictive for some people and exclude foods that some studies have shown to be beneficial.
This article defines the Pegan diet and examines its potential health benefits and drawbacks. It also discusses which foods to eat and avoid as part of the diet.
What is the Pegan Diet?
Pegan’s diet combines vegan and the paleo way of eating. dr. Mark Hyman, functional physician and author, created the diet and coined the term pegan.
Paleolithic or paleo food intended to mimic the diet our ancestors may have followed before the Neolithic Revolution – the shift from gathering and hunting to farming and herding.
Proponents of the paleo diet claim that the human body is genetically predisposed to this type of food, and eating refined foods causes poor health.
A vegan diet excludes animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. In addition, those who follow a vegan diet avoid consuming animal products such as honey or food additives and dyes that manufacturers produce from animals. A vegan diet avoids the exploitation of animals for entertainment, clothing or food.
Dr. Pegan Diet Hymana aims to combine elements of both diets and recommends a plant-based diet with animal products as a supplement rather than the main course. The diet also avoids dairy products and gluten and recommends moderate consumption of beans.
Potential Benefits of the Pegan Diet
Focusing on whole plant-based foods, less meat, and avoiding processed foods puts Pegan’s diet in line with some healthy
dietary guidelines. (1) (2)
The diet is rich in nutrients that provide essential vitamins and minerals. It may also have the following health benefits.
Prevent chronic diseases
Although scientists have studied the benefits and risks of paleo and vegan diets, there is little evidence for a combined approach.
However, there is one review that compares the nutritional composition of a Pegan diet with Mediterranean diet. ( 3 )
Many studies demonstrate the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. These include reducing the risk or helping to prevent: ( 4 )
- cardiovascular diseases
- something types of cancer
- cognitive decline
In addition, in above review notes that the Mediterranean diet has a beneficial effect on intestinal bacteriasuggesting that a pegan diet can produce similar results.
Eating a wide variety of plant foods provides prebiotics that help feed beneficial bacteria. Evidence show that healthy gut bacteria can help prevent obesity, hypertension and diabetes. (5)
Plant-based foods that reduce inflammation
Pegan’s diet emphasizes vegetables and fruits, similar to a plant-based diet. Studies suggest that a plant-based diet could reduce inflammation and prevent obesity. ( 6 )
Another study by the author 2021 year found that higher fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower mortality. (7)
These findings support current dietary recommendations to increase intake of fruits and vegetables, but not fruit juices and potatoes.
Low-glycemic foods are a key element of the Pegan approach. Glycemic index ( ) measures how quickly food raises blood sugar.
Studies suggest that low GI diets may be beneficial for weight management and reducing the risk of diabetes. (8)
Disadvantages of the Pegan diet
Nutritional studies are often conflicting and can be inconclusive. Some of the foods that are recommended to be avoided on a vegan diet have well-researched health benefits.
For example, a vegan diet involves avoiding beans, legumes, and whole grains. But evidence emphasize that beans and legumes reduces obesity and inflammation and can improve immune and cardiovascular function. (9)
In addition, another study suggests that eating 2-3 meals whole grain foods per day can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. ( 10 )
CDC also includes whole grains, beans, and legumes as part of a recommended healthy eating plan to maintain a moderate weight. ( 11 )
Some people, for example those with diabetes or Celiac diseaseavoid certain foods to manage your health.
However, a restrictive diet like the Pegan Diet can be unnecessarily restrictive if people do not have intolerances or allergies to the food groups it restricts.
Foods to enjoy
The Pegan Diet recommends focusing on glycemic load when planning meals, with more emphasis on protein and fat.
Glycemic load it measures how quickly food causes glucose to enter the bloodstream and how much glucose it delivers per serving. ( 12 )
Foods People Can Eat on a Pegan Diet
Vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits should be replaced 75% from a vegan diet. dr. Hyman recommends eating 2-3 servings of vegetables per meal. ( 13 )
So does the ADA mentions that most fruits have a low GI due to their fructose and fiber content. ( 14 )
Melons, pineapples and some dried fruits such as dates and blueberries may have an average GI.
Non-starchy vegetables are more suitable for people with low GI. They include: ( 15 )
- young corn
- green beans
Nuts and seeds
People following a vegan diet can focus on eating nuts and seeds because they contain protein, minerals and healthy fats. dr. Hyman advises eat seeds such as:
Legumes are recommended in a healthy diet. Therefore, limiting legumes in a person’s diet may not reflect public health guidelines.
Pegan’s diet recommends consuming the following fats:
- omega-3 fatty acids from oily fishflax, hemp or walnuts
- Saturated fat from grass-fed animals
Note, however, that most dietary guidelines I recommend limiting saturated fat for good cardiovascular health. ( 16 )
Meat, fish and animal products
People following a vegan diet should eat meat or animal products as a side dish, not as a main course. The main component of the dish should be vegetables, and the side dish should be meat.
All animal products that humans consume, such as meat or eggsthey must be organically raised, grass-fed and organic.
Foods to avoid
The Pegan Diet recommends that people avoid or limit the following foods.
The paleo diet avoids grains because their ancestors did not consume them. A vegan diet involves eating only small portions—for example, half a cup of low-glycemic index grains such as black rice or quinoa combined with another food.
In addition, people should avoid processed foods made from flour, which can cause weight gain blood sugar.
People on a vegan diet should avoid gluten. Foods that contain gluten include:
- breadfrom wheat, barley or rye flour
- pastries from wheat, barley or rye flour
- sweets, cakes and biscuits made from wheat, barley or rye flour
The diet recommends moderate consumption of gluten-free grains, as they can raise blood sugar or trigger autoimmunity.
dr. Hyman advises that beans can cause digestive problems for some people and can cause blood sugar spikes. Therefore, the diet recommends avoiding large starch grains. But people can they eat lentils occasionally.
dr. Hyman notes that both vegan and paleo diets avoid it Dairy Products. It recommends avoiding all dairy products, incl milk, cheese and yogurt. However, people can sometimes eat organic goat or sheep products.
Fish with high mercury content
The Pegan Diet recommends avoiding fish with higher mercury content. They include: ( 17 )
- a swordsman
- king mackerel
Processed foods and supplements
Pegan’s diet emphasizes natural and whole foods, so people should avoid refined and processed foods.
In addition, avoiding processed foods helps limit the number of food additives and dyes one consumes. The diet also tries to exclude pesticides, antibiotics and genetically modified foods (GMOs). ( 18 )
If you follow a Pegan diet, you should use sugar only occasionally and moderately. This includes sugar in all its forms, such as table sugar, syrups and fructose in processed food.
dr. Hyman recommends avoiding most vegetable oils, including:
- soybean oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Corn oil
- Sunflower oil
The Pegan diet emphasizes vegetables, but also includes meat, fish, nuts and seeds. Some gluten-free legumes and grains can be used in moderation.
Here is a sample menu for one week on the diet:
- Breakfast: Vegetable omelette with a simple green salad and olive oil
- Lunch: Salad from kale, chickpeas, strawberries and avocado
- Dinner: Wild salmon with roasted carrots, steamed broccoli and lemon wine
- Breakfast: Green smoothie with apple, kale, almond butter and hemp seeds
- Lunch: Leftovers from last night’s dinner
- Dinner: grilled shrimp and black rice and vegetable pilaf
- Breakfast: Sweet potato toast topped with sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds and lemon vinaigrette
- Lunch: Boiled eggs, turkey, raw vegetable sticks, fermented pickles and blackberries
- Dinner: fried cashews, onionpepper, tomato and black beans
- Breakfast: Fried eggs, kimchi and steamed vegetables
- Lunch: Lentil and vegetable stew, sliced melon
- Dinner: Salad with radishes, jicama, guacamole and beef jerky
- Breakfast: coconut and chia pudding with walnuts and fresh blueberries
- Lunch: Mixed green salad with avocado, cucumber, grilled chicken and vinaigrette
- Dinner: Roasted beetroot salad with pumpkin seeds, Brussels sprouts and sliced almonds
- Breakfast: Vegetable omelette with a simple green salad
- Lunch: Thai salads with creamy cashew dressing and orange slices
- Dinner: Roasted pork fillet with stewed vegetables and quinoa
- Breakfast: oatmeal nuts with cashew milk, chia seeds, walnuts and berries
- Lunch: leftover pork fillet and vegetables
- Dinner: Green salad with avocado, grilled chicken and vinaigrette
The Pegan Diet combines paleo and vegan diets. Nutritional aspects of the diet, such as plenty of plant-based foods and avoiding sugar, can help prevent chronic disease, weight gain, and inflammation.
However, the Pegan diet restricts grains, legumes, and dairy products and may be too restrictive for some people. In addition, the foods it restricts may benefit people who should not be avoided for health reasons.