Top veganism myths!
Myth 1: You can’t get enough protein from plants.
Meat is not the only source of protein, although many think so. In fact, almost all foods (except alcohol and sugar) contain some protein. To get all the essential amino acids, a wide variety of different plant proteins should be consumed, including soy products, grains such as quinoa, lentils, beans, nuts & seeds. Plus: Vegan diets tend to have higher levels of fibre, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E than omnivorous ones.
Myth 2: You will suffer when training or playing sports.
Again, not true! A person following a vegan diet can perform just as well as on a meat-based diet, as long as they ensure they are eating enough protein and certain nutrients that may be harder to get enough of on a vegan diet. This includes calcium, iodine, iron and omega 3 (1). They may need to consider a vitamin B12 supplement, since this nutrient mainly comes from animal sources.
Myth 3: Weight loss is guaranteed.
Switching to a vegan diet does not mean you will be guaranteed to lose weight. People who cut out animal products may switch to consuming highly processed and higher calorie foods, depending on the quality of their diet, which can then lead to weight maintenance or gain. So, if you eliminate animal products, make sure you don’t replace it with processed foods, and instead include a wide range of plant foods and cooking from scratch. Not only will this be more nutritious overall, it may help with weight management if this is a goal.
Myth 4: Meatless diets are not recommended for pregnant women.
Although pregnancy is not the recommended time to experiment with your diet, a woman who is already following a healthy vegan diet is less likely to gain excessive or unrequired weight during pregnancy, reducing her risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure (2). Some ideas to encourage a nutrient rich vegan diet may be to eat more nuts, dried fruit, soybeans, pulses, lentils etc.
Myth 5: Eating vegan food is expensive.
Everything indeed has a price, but within the supermarket, the most expensive by far are animal products. If you continue to find fresh fruits and vegetables expensive, there is always the option of buying them frozen. Or buying in season or at markets can reduce the cost, as well as buying dried beans/lentils and then soaking yourself (3).
Myth 6: You will always be hungry
If you’re hungry on a vegan diet, you’re doing something wrong! For example, not getting enough fibre, fat, or protein. Fibre, the indigestible part of a plant, satisfies the appetite, fills the stomach, and stabilises blood sugar levels to prevent cravings, while fat and protein are both satisfying and slow to digest. So if your stomach growls, grab a snack containing protein, fats and/or fibre – such as walnuts, or veggie sticks with hummus.
Myth 7: You will have less energy.
Most people increase their energy level by going from a diet rich in processed foods to a more home cooked vegan diet. If your energy levels drop, you may not be getting enough vitamin B12 or iron. Vitamin B12 can generally be obtained from foods fortified with this vitamin, since natural sources are not entirely reliable on a vegan diet (supplements may be recommended) (4). Iron can be found in high levels in foods such as spinach, lentils, chickpeas, beans and cashews, and it is important to eat them together with vitamin C (oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes) (5), as vitamin C helps the body better absorb iron.
After disproving these myths and verifying that a vegan diet can be just as healthy and complete, will you dare to take the plunge?
We have a plenty more blogs on Plant-based information if you’d like to read some more.
- NHS, 2022. The vegan diet. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-eat-a-balanced-diet/the-vegan-diet/
- Craig, W., Levin, S. & Melin, V., 2016. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. J Acad Nutr Diet, 116(12).
- Springmann, M. et al, 2021. The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modelling study. The Lancet, 5(11).
- The Vegan Society, 2023. What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12. [Online] Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients/vitamin-b12/what-every-vegan-should-know-about-vitamin-b12
- NHS, 2022. The vegetarian diet. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-eat-a-balanced-diet/the-vegetarian-diet/