In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people that follow a vegan diet in the US. The main reason for the increasing popularity of veganism is the health benefits it can provide. The Americans generally considered vegetarianism and veganism as a fringe lifestyle choice. This has led to several misconceptions and myths around the vegan diet.
Vegan diets offer a wide range of health benefits, but some of the myths and misconceptions about vegan diets give people a false idea that plant-based foods are the remedy for all the health problems they have.
Let’s take a look at some of the common myths surrounding vegan diets.
Vegan Diets Are Always Healthy
A lot of studies over the decades have shown that increased consumption of red meat may lead to poorer health outcomes. It was found that a higher intake of processed red meat is associated with heart disease, obesity, colon cancer, diabetes, etc. This does not mean that a diet without meat is healthier for your body. It is important to note that not all meat is red and not all vegan diets are healthy.
Following a vegan diet does not necessarily mean that you are following a healthy diet. If you do not include a wide range of foods that offers multiple nutrients, you won’t get any health benefits. You need to plan your vegan diet carefully and should include different types of plant foods that offer a wide range of nutrients.
Following Veganism Lead To Protein Deficiency
This might be the most common myth that surrounds a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is only a myth because there are several plant-based foods that provide enough protein for your body. However, vegans many have to include several plant foods to fulfill their protein requirements.
The good thing is that vegans can choose from a wide range of plant foods for their protein requirements. Some of the plant foods that are rich in protein are lentils, tofu, seitan, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, wild rice, oats, etc. Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, brussels sprouts, etc are also good sources of protein.
Vegan Diets Ensure Weight Loss
Following a vegan diet does not ensure weight loss because most of the plant-based foods that you include in your vegan meal plan contain thousands of calories. We usually associate weight gain with a high intake of animal foods and think that plant-based foods can help in weight loss.
In reality, weight loss can be only achieved through a carefully planned diet and regular exercise. You can achieve weight loss without avoiding animal products. However, some of the recent studies are providing evidence for the ability of a plant-based diet to reduce body weight, but we will need to wait for more conclusive evidence.
Only Dairy Products Can Build Strong Bones
Many people believe that dairy products are very essential for building stronger bones and veganism does not ensure stronger bones. In reality, calcium that is present in dairy products is responsible for strong bones and this nutrient offers a lot of other health benefits, such as maintain muscle contraction, blood pressure, etc.
Fortunately, there are several plant-based foods that you can include in your vegan diet that provides an adequate amount of calcium required for your body. Some of the plant-based foods that are rich in calcium are lentils, peas, soy-based foods, spinach, flax seeds, almonds, seaweed, chia seeds, etc.
Soy-Based Foods Increases Breast Cancer Risk
There is no evidence that shows that the consumption of soy-based products may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. This misunderstanding about the soy products arises due to some of the earlier studies in rodents. When these animals received high amounts of isoflavones, a soy compound, the risk of developing breast cancer increased.
However, there are no human studies that show soy-based foods may increase the risk of breast cancer. The chances of developing breast cancer due to soy products are also slim because the human body process soy very differently than rodents.
Meat And Dairy Are Essential For Pregnant Women
You have to ensure that you get all the necessary nutrients during pregnancy. Healthy nutrients are very essential for the growth of your baby. A lot of plant-based foods can provide all the essential nutrients that the growing baby needs. You may have to plan your pregnancy diet carefully and ensure that you get all the essential nutrients you need.
Vegan Diet Does Not Help In Muscle Building
This misconception also comes from the protein myth. Protein is very essential for the building of stronger muscles and many believe that plant-based foods cannot provide enough proteins. However, plant-based foods like tofu, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, lentils, etc. provide enough protein for the building of stronger muscles.