Plant-based diets are gaining popularity across the globe. People are recognizing the health benefits as well as the environmental benefits of plant-based diets. Even the fast food restaurants have started adopting vegetarian-friendly options to satisfy their plant-based customers. However, there are a lot of myths surrounding this particular diet.
With the increase in popularity, the misconceptions that surround plant-based diets have also multiplied. False or conflicting information about these diets are circulating across the Internet, which often confuses people. So, it is important to debunk these myths and understand the truth. Following are the most common myths about plant-based diets that people come across on the Internet:
|Myth 1#: The term “Plant-Based” means vegan.|
Most people see the term plant-based as a synonym for vegan. Though both diets focus on eating more plant-based foods, there are some key differences. Veganism is the way of living that aims to minimize harm to the environment and animals.Vegan diets recommend abstaining from eating any animal products, while plant-based diets do not necessarily eliminate animal products, instead it focuses on eating mostly plants, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
In other words, all vegan diets are plant-based, but a plant-based diet is not necessarily vegan.
Myth 2#: Plant-based eaters would not get enough protein.
This is, by far, the most common myth about plant-based diets.
Most people associate meat with protein and believe that a diet lacking meat is equivalent to a diet lacking protein. Individual requirements for protein vary, but on an average 0.83g/kg of protein are required per day. The truth is that we can very much meet our daily protein needs from plant sources. Consuming all the necessary proteins from a plant-based diet can be challenging, but not impossible. You may have to consume more of them to match the required amount of protein found in animal products. For example, 1 cup of cooked beans provides equal amount of protein in a 3-ounce portion of meat.
Tofu, lentils, beans and nuts are the most common plant-based protein sources. Additionally, green vegetables, potatoes, mushrooms and whole grains are also rich in proteins.
Myth 3#: Plant-based diets are expensive.
People often think that following a plant-based diet is expensive, but that is not the case. Plant-based meals use whole foods in their natural state and often need fewer steps to prepare. Common plant-based foods such as beans, grains, sweet potatoes, lentils, and fruits are easily available in the local markets at relatively low cost when compared to fresh meat.
Myth 4#: Plant-based diets are not very filling.
Plant-based foods have lower calorie density than meat products, so it is reasonable to assume that that they not as filling as the meat products.
Studies showed that people who consume large amounts of fiber are more likely to stay fuller for a longer period of time. Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, legumes vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fruit are rich in dietary fiber and helps in feeling fuller after a meal and prevent food cravings.
Myth 5#: Plant-based diets are not appropriate for pregnant women and children.
Following a plant-based diet during pregnancy and childhood can be a controversial subject. But various studies showed that a well-planned, nutritious plant-based diet can meet the nutritional requirements for people in all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, and childhood. In fact several celebrities and well-known sports stars have followed plant-based diet during their pregnancy period and are raising a plant-based family. However, it is important to make sure that you get the required nutrients.
Studies showed that higher intake of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy can lower the risk of excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes. If you are following a strict plant-based diet, then the pregnant woman should consider vitamin B12 supplementation.
If you are considering switching to a plant-based diet, make sure you get the right amount of the nutrients that your body requires. You can even speak to a registered dietitian or nutritionist before starting any new diet.
Myths and Misconceptions About Plant-Based Diets. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/myths-and-misconceptions-about-plant-based-diets. Accessed on: 26-11-2020.
Myths and facts. https://www.mondaycampaigns.org/meatless-monday/common-myths-and-facts-about-plant-based-eating . Accessed on: 26-11-2020.
Plant-Based Health & Nutrition . https://www.downstate.edu/plant-based/myths.html . Accessed on: 26-11-2020.