Many people automatically assume one of two things:
1.) That vegans are healthy, or
2.) That a vegan diet is insubstantial.
Both of these assumptions can be right or wrong. As with any diet, the type of food you eat determines whether your diet is healthy or not.
When you think of vegan diets, do you associate it with lots of fruits and vegetables?
Colour and vibrancy? Well perhaps that would be a healthy vegan diet, but there is a misconception among many people that think just because it is vegan, it is healthy.
The marketing of vegan products, makes many people assume that vegan diets are healthy, but just because it is vegan, doesn’t mean that it is healthy. It depends on what vegan foods one consumes. Just like mainstream diets, there is a large amount of vegan junk food out there as well.
Here are some misconceptions / too-broad generalisations about veganism (for and against veganism):
1. Vegan food is healthy
Many people assume that vegan diets are healthy. This point is way too generalised and has a lot to do with how vegan products are marketed. There is also quite a bit of research which states that plant foods are healthier for us
However, there are many unhealthy refined vegan foods such as pasta, white breads, ‘fake’ meats that are made from mostly gluten.
2. Vegan food is sustainable
While most vegan food may be more sustainable
- Processed vegan foods use a lot of energy to manufacture
- Vegan foods can be expensive, many people cannot afford it
- Some fruits and vegetables need a lot of water and natural resources to grow.
- The demand for fruits and vegetables all year round require importing, which is costly in price and resources.
Bottom line is that we should be aware of how our food is grown and to try and eat as local and seasonally as possible.
3. Vegans don’t get enough proteins
The daily protein dietary requirements are 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Remember that not all vegan proteins are complete sources of protein.
Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids. A good rule of thumb, to ensure you get complete proteins in your diet when consuming plant-based proteins, is to combine legumes and nuts or whole-grains.
4. A Vegan diet is (too) high in carbs
When starting a vegan diet, often meals are high in carbohydrates. Go to meals are often pastas, sandwiches and processed meat alternatives.
The recommended daily dietary allowance for carbohydrates is between 100g – 300g per day (or 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake).
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5. Vegan diets can contribute to weight gain/loss.
Again, this depends on what kind of food the person is eating.
In conclusion, you need to be well informed. You need to educate yourself about the benefits and potential pitfalls of a vegan diet.
When in doubt, a whole-foods, minimal processed diet is probably the best way to go.