Plant-based diets have accumulated a number of myths around them. People accuse them of being unhealthy all the time. Others often group all types of non-omnivorous diets together with the biased distaste. Still, others think of it as a millennial fad that will eventually die out. But what if all of these assumptions were just common myths? This blog explores 5 common myths and misconceptions about plant-based diets. Read on for more.
5 Things You Thought You Knew About Plant-Based Diets
Plant-based diets have become very popular over the past decade. Science has demonstrated numerous benefits of eating a plant-based diet. This includes a reduced risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as regulating blood sugar levels. A plant-based diet has also shown to have a positive impact on body weight, composition, and insulin resistance.
That’s not to mention the benefits a plant-based diet has for the world at large. It has a much smaller carbon footprint than other dietary lifestyles. In addition, plant based-diets can consume less water and are more ecologically sustainable. So it is hard to imagine that so many people have so many misconceptions about this lifestyle. I once met a temp at a staffing agency that was sure that plant-based diets were “fake food”. Here are a few commonly believed misconceptions that you might have heard.
Misconception #1: Plant-Based Diets and Vegan Diets are the Same
There is a lot of confusion as to what exactly a “plant-based” diet means. Most people think it is the same thing as a vegan or vegetarian diet. That is why a lot of research on the subject is not accurate. That’s because a plant-based diet may not necessarily be vegan or vegetarian. On the other hand, a vegan or vegetarian diet is almost always plant-based. The reality of the situation is that if 50% or more of your diet is consists of food that comes from plants, you are eating a plant-based diet. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t eating meat or eggs or dairy. “Plant-based” is a fairly broad term. But a vegan or vegetarian diet is more restrictive. It will usually exclude most foods belonging to omnivorous diets.
Misconception #2: Processed Meat Alternatives are Not Real Food
One of the loudest arguments on the block is that a veggie burger is not really a burger. To some extent this is true. Most ingredients come from processed food, which can often raise alarm. But if you think about it, these ingredients are no more fake than your local hamburger. Most of the food we consume on a daily basis is also processed. In fact, many times processed meat alternatives have more nutrient value than processed meat. It may not be in the shape nature intended it, but then, a lot of other things aren’t either.
Misconception #3: Plant-Based Diets Lack Essential Proteins
The adult human body needs less than a gram of protein per kg of body weight during the day. Even athletes, bodybuilders, and strongmen don’t see much benefit in consuming large amounts of protein. In fact, you can get easily get enough protein for your body with a plant-based diet. But compared to an omnivore, you will still be consuming less. Alternatives like soy milk lack the protein quality of dairy milk. But you can still easily find protein-dense soy milk at a health store. You don’t necessarily need to consume large amounts of meat and dairy to get enough protein.
Misconception #4: A Plant-Based Dietary Lifestyle is too Expensive
When people say plant-based diets are expensive, they are thinking of health food chains and supplements. But as a matter of fact, many plant-based foods cost far less than meat or dairy products. Beans, whole-grains, and other plant-based products are not only cheap but easy to find. Of course, fresh produce usually has more nutrient value than frozen or processed foods. When certain foods are in season, you should opt to buy fresh. Of course, other products like bananas, broccoli, and potatoes may not always be very cheap. But if you stick to a whole-foods only diet, you will still save more money.
Misconception #5: Vegan and Vegetarian Dietary Lifestyles are too Inconvenient
A lifestyle is only inconvenient if you let it be. That goes to plant-based dietary lifestyles as well. In the 90s or early 2000s, finding plant-based ingredients for food everywhere was not as easy. But thanks to improvements in farming, processing, distribution, and logistics, that isn’t the case anymore. These days, you can find most of the food groups you need nearly everywhere. Most department stores and supermarkets have dedicated sections for plant-based foods. It is no more inconvenient than shopping for a prime rib or a steak cut.