5 Myths about vegan and vegetarian diets that it’s time to dispel

Don’t let these myths hold you back from reaching your health goals.

5 Myths about vegan and vegetarian diets that it's time to dispel

In India, the struggle to transform and the rising obesity rate can often be attributed to a tendency to heed advice from anyone and everyone. There’s a prevalent belief that individuals who appear fit possess all-encompassing knowledge about health, leading us to unquestioningly adopt their advice. This tendency often results in the acceptance of myths without considering our unique genetics, metabolisms, and body types.

1. Myth: Vegan and vegetarian diets lack protein

Yes, protein deficiency resulting in death is extremely rare in developed countries, but it’s essential for overall health. Protein is a vital macronutrient, just like carbs and fats, and it’s necessary for various bodily functions. The recommended daily protein intake is generally around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, although individual needs may vary based on factors like age, activity level, and muscle mass.

While it’s a myth that vegan and vegetarian diets lack protein, it’s important for individuals following these diets to ensure they’re getting an adequate amount of protein from plant-based sources like tofu, nuts, lentils, and oats. With proper planning, it’s entirely feasible to meet one’s protein needs on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Myth: Vegan and vegetarian diets lack protein

2. Myth: Being vegan means being unhealthy

The main criterion for assessing health isn’t just body fat percentage but internal health as well. Internal health pertains to the condition of your organs and whether you have any deficiencies. When individuals transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet, they typically consume a higher proportion of fruits and vegetables. These plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, which help prevent deficiencies and support organ health.

3. Myth: Vegans and vegetarians can’t lose weight

There’s a misconception that vegetarians lack lean protein and have diets high in carbohydrates, making weight loss challenging. However, weight loss primarily depends on lifestyle factors and whether one maintains a calorie deficit. Achieving a calorie deficit is often easier for vegans because fruits and vegetables are low in calories. Even if they consume these foods in abundance, they are unlikely to exceed their maintenance calorie intake.

Myth: Vegans and vegetarians can't lose weight

4. Myth: Vegan and vegetarian diets are expensive

A non-vegetarian diet typically includes meat, fruits, vegetables, lentils, nuts, and dairy products. Transitioning to a vegan diet, where meat and dairy products are excluded, often results in reduced overall food costs. Eating meals at home can further lower expenses, as dining out tends to be more costly.

5. Myth: You can’t build muscle without eating meat

The basics of muscle building involve maintaining a calorie surplus, consuming adequate protein, engaging in regular strength training, and allowing for proper recovery. As long as these fundamentals are met, progress can be achieved regardless of whether one consumes meat or relies on plant-based sources like tofu for protein. Meat constitutes only a small portion of the protein intake, so the choice between meat and plant-based protein sources has minimal impact on muscle building potential.