Nutrient Deficiency in Vegan Diets: Myths and Facts

Since eating animal based foods is considered to be the ordained ‘normal’ diet by a majority of people, a number of myths about vegan and plant based diets have gained currency. Proponents of animal based diets tend to caution against cutting out animal based foods from the diet for a variety of reasons. While some of these may have some basis in fact, there are a number of myths about vegan food that continue to do the rounds.

Here are some popular myths regarding nutrient deficiency in vegan diets:

Myth 1: Vegan diets are inadequate for kids, pregnant women, lactating mothers

The apprehension is that growing children, pregnant women and lactating mothers have special nutritional requirements and that these requirements may not be adequately met by plant based diets.

vegan-diet-nutrient-deficiency-mythsFact: Now while it is true that these groups may have special nutritional requirements, it is a myth that they cannot be met with plant based foods. You do have to choose wisely, and it is also important to eat a wide variety of plant based foods but it in the end most nutritional requirements can and are met by plant based foods. If some plant based foods are not well tolerated however, a supplement may be required.

Myth 2: Vegans don’t get enough protein

One of the main supposed problems with vegan diets is the apprehension that you won’t get enough protein from a vegan diet; that plant based foods don’t have muscle building properties and what it takes to give the body strength and endurance.

Fact: One only has to see the muscles of a horse, an elephant or a gorilla to know that you don’t need to eat animals in order to be big and strong. Legumes, soy, beans and whole grains are great sources of protein.

Myth 3: Vegans don’t get enough calcium

Since vegans don’t consume milk and other dairy products, they cannot possibly get enough calcium in their food – again this is a myth.

Fact: Nuts, seeds, legumes and many fruits and veggies are actually great sources of calcium so there is usually no reason to depend upon dairy for the body’s calcium requirements.

Myth 4: Vegan diets are always healthy

So long as you eat a diet free of animal products, you’re eating healthy.

Fact: Let us finish off with a caveat hear – don’t assume that just because you eat a vegan diet, you’re eating a healthy diet. You could be a pure vegan but if you’re still eating a lot of processed and refined foods high in salt, sugar and fats, you’re doing yourself a disservice. So keep in mind the importance of having a healthy, balanced and varied plant based diet.