Although today’s society is becoming more and more inclusive and accommodating to the vegetarian diet, there are still many vegetarian myths that are thought to be true. Questions over vegetarian’s protein consumption, nutrient intake and physical health is always on people’s minds.
Discount Supplements, leading UK suppliers of vegetarian protein powder, takes a look into the debunking the myths around vegetarianism.
Vegetarians do not eat enough protein
This is the biggest myth around vegetarianism and without a doubt every veggie is questioned about their protein intake. As meat is considered our traditional source of protein, many meat eaters believe that without it you are consuming little to no protein in your diet. This is simply not true. There are many plants that provide us with enough protein to fulfil your recommended daily intake of protein and more. Foods such as lentils, tofu and soya are great sources of complete proteins the likes of which are found in meat.
Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids, the same amino acids that form the protein component of meat. Proteins are made up of roughly twenty different amino acids, with 9 of them not being produced by our own body and need to be consumed. There are many plant based sources of protein that are complete such as those mentioned above. However, many other sources of protein can be complete by eating them in conjunction with foods that contain the missing amino acids. Thus when eating a balanced diet, your vegetarian diet will not lack any protein.
Vegetarians do not eat enough calcium
This myth is due to the fact that much of our calcium that we consume comes from animal by-products. Firstly, this myth would apply mainly to Vegans, as they do not eat any dairy in their diet. However, even this myth is not true for vegans. A plant based diet can be one of the best sources of calcium. Foods such as leafy greens, nuts, oranges, kidney beans, whole grains, broccoli and tofu are all high in calcium and can be incorporated into your daily diet.
The Vegetarian diet lacks essential fats
Many meat products contain a large amount of fat and this is where most people would get their fats from. However, what most people don’t realise is that most of this fat is in actual fact not healthy for you as well as too much for a healthy diet. That crackling and duck skin fat is not only high in calories but can also aid in the causation of high cholesterol levels.
In a vegetarian diet there are numerous ways to incorporate not only fats, but healthy fats through seeds, nuts, olives and avocados which are all comprised of roughly 80% fats. Eating a plant based veggie diet, you are getting roughly 9-15% of your total daily calories from fat which is healthy.
Vegetarians lack nutrients
This is a myth that is often assumed to be true, but is so completely off of the mark. When thinking logically about this, a vegetarian diet consists mainly of fruit and vegetables which is the main source of all micro-nutrients. The most nutrient dense foods are plants and not animal by-products.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S Department of Agriculture found that those who eat a vegetarian diet have a lower obesity rate, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure as well as a lower mortality rate.
Vegetarians can’t be successful athletes
This is a very common school of thought amongst meat eaters. Due to the perceived lack of protein and micro-nutrients in a vegetarian diet, veggies are considered to not have the strength or stamina that a meat eater would have during physical activities. However, as outlines above, veggies do not lack any protein or nutrients in their diet and there are many very successful athletes who eat a plant based diet and do not struggle with their physical performance.