Debunking Nutrition Myths is a full-time job against those who claim that vegetarian diets are not healthy, these are myths, they are not “truths.” This mythology was created by dietitians and the cattle, pork, chicken and other animal killing industries, they are not “truths.” If you are in doubt, please continue…
There are many lifestyle and nutritional reasons for being a vegetarian and far too many urban myths that vegetarians are unhealthy because their diet will not provide enough protein, calcium or iron if they do not eat animal flesh. There is also misunderstanding about how much of each is needed. These are myths and most certainly not true. The majority of people in the world are vegetarians, whether they want to be or not, and most of them live quite natural and healthy lives.
Protein Deficiency Myths
Protein Deficiency Myths are some of the most frequent comments against vegetarianism. Nearly always someone will ask where do vegetarians get their protein if they do not eat the flesh of an animal?
Let us take a fantastic scenario and spin it around a bit…
Suppose I am trapped in a junk food warehouse and have nothing to eat but fat-free pretzel twists. One ounce of these is equal to 100 calories or the equivalent of 3 grams of plant protein. I would be getting my entire caloric intake– 2,500 calories– from pretzel sticks. 25 ounces of them a day, in fact; that’s about two or three bags. How much protein would I be getting from this miserably inadequate diet? 25 ounces x 3 grams / ounce = 75 grams of protein a day. Even on this incredibly lousy diet I’m approaching 92% of the RDA protein requirement! Two months in this warehouse and I will develop scurvy, biotin deficiency syndromes, vitamin D deficiency, and a deep, abiding hatred of pretzel sticks. But I will not be experiencing protein deficiency.
Writer Michael Bluejay tells us in his article Vegetarian Guide…according to what the science actually says that “Common vegetables have much more protein than you need, and contrary to popular myth, they’re complete proteins as well.” The author also includes a Calorie and Protein Calculator to help us determine our nutritional needs.”
Vegetarians have no protein deficiency problems because there are many easily available Plant Protein Sources including peas, beans, lentils, soya foods, nuts, peanuts, seeds, and cereals just to name a few.
Calcium Deficiency Myths
Calcium Deficiency Myths are where flesh eaters like to tell vegetarians that their bones will become brittle if they only eat vegetables. This is not true, just as with protein, calcium is easily available from plant sources. These include green leafy vegetables, such as spring greens, kale, broccoli, and parsley. Oranges, figs, black molasses, chickpeas, and fortified foods such as soya milk are also good calcium sources.
Calcium in the Vegan Diet reminds us also that “Calcium, needed for strong bones, is found in dark green leafy vegetables, tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice…soybeans and soynuts, bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and okra”
Iron Deficiency Myths
The Iron Myth is yet another strong and abiding falsehood. We do not need to eat the blood in the flesh of an animal to get adequate amounts of iron. “…iron deficiency in vegans is no more common than in the rest of the population.”
Good plant sources of iron include dried fruits, whole grains (including wholemeal bread), nuts, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, pistachios, almonds, cashews, sesame and other seeds and pulses, as well as apricots.
The Vegetarian Society has a number of fact sheets about vegetarianism and nutrition. Their factsheet about iron says “Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron, while calcium, tannins and phenols hinder the process, so drinking orange juice – and avoiding tea or coffee – with an iron-rich meal can really help you make the most of the iron in your food.” The page also has a link to recipes for iron-rich vegetables.
You have reached the end of our discussion about why you should seriously consider eating less meat, or better yet, stop eating meat completely! Please consider your health, our planet, and our animal friends the next time you make choices about what to eat.