Even as veganism becomes more and more popular, there are still a few myths and misunderstandings surrounding this plant-based diet.
Read on as we bust the most popular vegan myths.
Myth 1: There’s no protein in plants
Health professionals generally recommend that the average woman (52kg) eats 42g of protein a day (0.8g/kg).
People who include meat in their diet tend to eat almost double that at 80g a day on average. Vegetarians and vegans still manage to get enough protein if they know where to find them.
Vegetarians and vegans can get their protein from numerous different sources including beans, legumes, peas, nuts and seeds, and oatmeal as well as meat alternatives and plant protein powders made from a combination of plant-derived protein sources.
Plant-based protein is free from cholesterol and lower in saturated fats, which lowers the risk of heart disease, different cancers, type-2 diabetes, obesity and weight gain.
Myth 2: Vegans are vitamin deficient
A plant-based diet that includes a variety of ingredients such as legumes, fruit, veg, seeds, nuts and fortified and functional plant-based foods contains all the nutrients needed to achieve optimal health.
What are fortified foods? They’re foods that have had nutrients added to them that don’t naturally occur in that specific food. These foods are necessary in both vegan as well as a non-vegan diets.
However, vegans who don’t consume produce like mushrooms that are grown in vitamin B12 enriched soils may need to consider a supplement.
Myth 3: Soy is a GMO that disrupts hormones
Soy phytoestrogen can be classified as a ‘selective oestogen receptor modulator’ which means the body experiences both pro-oestrogenic effects in the body where oestrogen is beneficial and anti-oestrogenic effects where oestrogen causes harm.
For examples, studies have shown that consuming soy can lower the risk of various forms of cancer (an anti-oestrogenic effect), and also helps to reduce menopausal hot-flash symptoms (a pro-oestrogenic effect).
Myth 4: Veganism would result in overpopulation of farm animals
Most animals we eat have been specifically bred for that purpose, which obviously means that if more people turn to plant-based proteins, it would slow down the animal agriculture industry, potentially making it less profitable.
Myth 5: Plants feel pain
To be able to feel the sensation of pain there needs to be a nervous system present. Humans and animals have nervous systems, but plants don’t.
Myth 6: A vegan diet is expensive
Steak, bacon, chicken, and ham can definitely drive your grocery bill up, but when you swap them out with chickpeas and lentils you’re bound save some bucks. Veggie staples such as grains, potatoes, beans and bananas are among the cheapest foods you can buy at the grocery store.
Myth 7: One person can’t make a difference
WRONG! When you decide to completely dedicate yourself to your chosen cause, you can make a difference! Remember that the collective action of individuals has the power to ignite global change. The more people choose plant-proteins over meat at grocery stores, the less meat grocery stores will order.
Myth 8: Vegan foods aren’t as tasty as other food options.
This is possibly the easiest myth to bust, as there are TONNES of tasty vegetarian and vegan meals! From delicious stews, to pizza, pasta and juicy burgers, you can find a veg replacement for almost anything.
This article was adapted from a Fitness magazine feature written by Dr Paul Palmer, a plant-based nutrition consultant and musculoskeletal occupation health specialist.
Author: Logan Leigh Rix
Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a personal trainer, former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.