Five Common Myths And Facts About Vegetarian Diet

There are several misconceptions and myths regarding vegetarian and vegan diet and myths that surrounds the individuals who adopt the vegan or vegetarian diet. The myths are usually based on hearsay and not based on facts and scientific basis. This article may help bring out the facts of some of the common myths that are present in many individual minds and may not be accepting healthy vegan or vegetarian diet.

Myth: Vegetarians (especially vegans) do not get enough protein.

Fact: It is true that no single plant source of protein is complete, i. e. it does not contain all the essential amino acids a human needs. Essential amino acids are amino acids that human body can not synthesize and must be supplied from dietary source. However, addition of two or more plant source of protein can supply all the essential amino acids. Because, one plant source of protein may be deficient in one or two essential amino acids, but another source is not deficient in those amino acids. The secret of getting enough of essential amino acids is to eat variety of plant sources of proteins such as rice, wheat, pulses, legumes, lentils etc.

Myth: Humans are meat eaters by design and have been eating meat since prehistoric times.

Fact: Humans can survive on meat. Humans have canine teeth, like carnivores, but many plant eating animals too have canine teeth. But, human anatomy is more inclined towards plant eating animals. For example human intestine is very long (5-6 meters in length) just like plant eating animals. Whereas, carnivores have short intestine. Humans posses molar teeth, which are seen only among plant eating animals. Meat eating humans suffer from cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease much more than vegans, which should not be the case, if humans were designed to be meat eaters.

Myth: vegetarian diet is not balanced and vegetarians are at risk of various health problems.

Fact: It is possible to get all the nutrients a human need for optimal health from plant source, except vitamin B-12, which is available only in animal source. By eating a variety of vegetables and fruits it is possible to get all the nutrients, macro-nutrients (such as facts, proteins and carbohydrates) and micro-nutrients (various vitamins and minerals) as well as trace minerals. In fact, plants/vegetables are better sources of various micro-nutrients, in compare to animal sources. If a vegan is careful in planning his/her diet, it is possible to get all the nutrients a human needs.

Myth: Vegan diet is okay for adults, but children need animal food for their optimal growth and development.

Fact: There is no basis to this myth. One can get all the essential nutrients from plant sources of food, including proteins (including all the essential amino acids), vitamins and minerals, essential for optimal growth and development of children. Hence, there is no reason why a child can not adopt vegan diet.

Myth: Vegans do not get enough iron and calcium.

Fact: There are several rich plant sources of iron and calcium and it is possible to get adequate iron and calcium from plant foods. Green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium as well as iron. The fact is that, vegans and vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis (weak bones due to deficiency of calcium), so plant sources have enough calcium. It is true that iron present in plant foods are absorbed less than iron present in animal foods. But taking enough plant iron and addition of reducing substance such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), improves iron absorption from plant foods.

 

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