CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Have you heard of the Pegan diet? It’s a fusion of the popular paleo and vegan diets and it’s getting a lot of attention these days. The term was coined by Dr. Mark Hyman in 2014 -- but it’s only recently picked up steam with Pinterest revealing interest in the Pegan diet jumped 337% in the past year.
Dr. Genevieve Brauning, a family doctor with Novant Health says it can be misleading to followers of the vegan diet. “It's not paleo plus vegan,” she explained. “It's parts of paleo and parts of vegan. In terms of Paleo, you can still have meat on this diet. Although there's a vegan element of it, it's not vegan in the sense that it's meat-free so the vegan aspect of it is that you're gonna get most of your nutrition through fruits and vegetables.”
Brauning wants you to know that going Pegan does allow some meat, fish, and eggs -- it still limits whole grains, dairy, and legumes which is a large part of the Paleo diet. Mostly, vegetables and fruits should make up about 75% of your diet and your plate. You can still eat meat, but think of as a condiment and not a main course.
“I like the thought of condiments, right,” she said. “You wouldn't have a plate of ketchup for dinner with a piece of lettuce on top. You would only serve yourself a little bit. It's a condiment. So if we think of things like meat or things that have processed foods or processed sugars as condiments that helps us know, it's a small topping. It's not the base of the meal.”
Dr. Brauning also pointed out that no matter what diet you’re going with there is a common denominator among all the ones shown to have health benefits. “One thing that this diet has in common with many other healthy diets whether it’s keto or paleo or vegan is what it doesn’t have. You can’t eat processed foods and you can eat refined sugars.”
She also stressed the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and said, “there’s really no diet that says eat less fruits and vegetables. So you can’t go wrong there. That’s where the nutrition is. We can’t replicate that nutrition with vitamins or supplements. You have to eat your fruits and vegetables."