Everyone knows that a vegan diet has a lot of myths surrounding it. It is to be expected as most new movements that seek change and question old ways of life attract false information and controversy. There is a ton of misinformation out there regarding a vegan diet and are here some popular myths debunked by leading experts in their respected fields.
We need calcium from dairy products to maintain strong bones
Joseph Keon, nutritionist and author of “Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth about Cow’s Milk and Your Health”: Milk offers no guarantee of protection from bone fracture while at the same time burdens the body with additional saturated fat and cholesterol, hormones and growth factors and, frequently, antibiotic residues. The calcium we need may be easily obtained from leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes and some nuts and seeds.
Plant protein is inferior to animal protein
Brenda Davis, RD and co-author of “Becoming Raw”: In reality, people have no greater need for animal protein than do gorillas or elephants, both of whom have far bigger muscles than we do, yet are plant eaters. Essential amino acids are made by plants and not by animals.
Vegans need to worry about a Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vesanto Melina, RD and co-author of “Becoming Raw”: B12 originates from bacteria, not animal products. The reason this nutrient cannot be obtained from plant-foods is because of our sanitary methods of food production. In contrast, meat eaters obtain vitamin B12 that is produced by bacteria present in the flesh of the animals. This lack in sanitary plant foods does not mean that all vegans are deficient in this nutrient, because they can easily obtain the recommended levels of B12 via foods that are fortified with B12 (non-dairy milks, soy foods, veggie “meats” and breakfast cereals) or via vitamin B12 supplements.
Vegan diets are unsafe for children and infants
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, LDN and co-author of “Simply Vegan”: Babies and children grow and develop normally on vegan diets and can have significant health advantages. Vegan children often eat more fruits and vegetables, are typically leaner and don’t develop a taste for meat, dairy products and eggs — foods that are linked to health problems later in life. As all parents should know, it is important to give children the nutrients they need. For parents of young vegans, this means making sure that infants’ and children’s diets have good sources of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, protein and enough calories to support growth.
by Melissa Sanborn of Nutritional Brands, PureVegan