6 vegan diet myths debunked!

Thought of going vegan but been put off? We set straight some common myths!

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Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@EmmaThornton
Ask Emma


24 January 2018

1. You can’t get enough protein following a vegan diet.

This is a common worry and a misconception when it comes to vegan diets, but of course we know that plant-based foods certainly contain protein too – herbivore animals the world over manage to get enough protein to keep them strong and healthy for a start! Particularly protein-packed vegan options include nuts and seeds, beans, legume, chickpeas, tofu and other grains such as quinoa. Plant-based protein powders which often come from rice, peas or soy can also be added into smoothies and other snacks if you are particularly keen on upping your protein intake.

2. Enough protein to build muscle though?

Nowadays gym goers are obsessed with building muscle, and you obviously need meat and raw eggs to achieve the perfect physique, right? Wrong! Up to date research found no difference in the effects protein from meat vs. plant-based sources such as legumes on body composition outcomes1. Successful athletes have succeeded in their field whilst employing a vegan lifestyle, including former Germany’s Strongest Man Patrik Baboumian – impressive!

3. It’s too expensive, I couldn’t afford going vegan.

People often assume this a super fussy, fancy diet which they couldn’t possibly afford, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! What can be expensive is when people buy vegan junk food...meat or cheese alternatives, complicated quorn products or ‘vegan eggs’ – you name it, it’s out there! And this is when it can certainly become pricey. So what to do instead, eat from fresh of course. Trying to replace meat with processed meat taste or lookalikes is kind of missing the point, instead we want to be celebrating the power of plants! Get experimental with all different vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and oils and of course lots of herbs, spices and additional flavours. All of these ingredients are super cheap, much cheaper than meat that’s for sure. And the same applies when eating out and you’re happily choosing vegan-friendly meals from the menu – these  are nearly always cheaper than their meat counterparts!

4. It’s too time consuming.

Although at the start of taking on any new diet and lifestyle regime, it may take a little longer to get your bearings – for example checking food labels and planning meals. But eventually this will all become second nature to you. You’ll get to know what you can and can’t eat and you’ll have a list of your favourite meal options to hand. Remember, eating fresh is key (for any diet!) so once you know which ingredients are suitable you can get experimental in the kitchen and whip up exciting meals in no time.

5. It’s boring and too hard to get variety.

It’s only boring if you want it to be! There are a huge variety of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, herbs, spices, oils, condiments and much more which you can use to create different tastes and textures. Try different cooking techniques too, try marinating to achieve different flavours for example, and cook meals in different ways. Why not get some vegan recipe inspiration from our food hub!

6. It won’t fill me up.

There’s no reason to believe that vegan food should fill you up any less than other food. Regardless if your meals are vegan or not, we want to prepare balanced meals which contain healthy proportions of fats, protein and fibre – all of which help support satiety. Refined carbohydrates and sugar (which are very often found in highly processed foods anyway) are some of the worst offenders at disrupting our blood sugar and in turn our appetite, so eat from fresh and you’ll be bound to feel satisfied for longer.

 

1. Mangano KM, Sahni S and Kiel DP et al. Dietary protein is associated with musculoskeletal health independently of dietary pattern: the Framingham Third Generation Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2017, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.136762

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