Sunday, January 11, 2015

Clearing Some of the Confusion Surrounding Vegan Diets!

A lot of people nowadays seem to be afraid of carbohydrates. Once, when I was taking a "Philosophy and Animal Rights" weeklong mini-course, a fellow student told me that she wouldn't go vegan because "Carbs make you fat."
Other people are less focused on carbs and more focused on "getting enough protein"... They say, "Oh, if you're a vegan, you have to be extra, extra careful to get enough protein!" and "You have to combine your proteins!"
I think that these people are really just mis-educated on nutrition. Here are some facts:
  • In reality, carbohydrates from unprocessed, whole-food sources are very healthy! Whole grains, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables all contain a combination of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. According to Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, R.D., and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.,
       "Populations consuming animal-centered diets, rich in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, have high rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. By contrast, those consuming plant-based diets, rich in carbohydrates, have significantly lower rates of disease." (page 77)
    Of course, whether or not you're a vegan, junk foods such as chips and pop aren't good for you, so it's important to opt for plant-based whole foods such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc. instead!
  • Most people eating a standard North American diet get about twice as much protein as they need per day! Consuming excess protein, especially from animal sources, can actually lead to health problems.
  • As a vegan, it is quite easy to meet and even exceed your daily protein requirements. It is recommended that people get about 10 to 15% of their calories from protein, according to No Meat Athlete. Studies of vegans in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia over the past 60 years or so have found that vegans get around 11.3-12.2% of their calories from protein. (Source: Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, R.D., and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.) If you're still worried about getting enough protein, you can consider using a plant-based protein powder, although this shouldn't be necessary for most people.
  • As for the protein-combining theory, it's actually not true. As long as you eat a variety of foods throughout the day, you'll be getting a good combination of amino acids-- you don't have to worry about combining your proteins to form a "complete protein" at every meal. (Source: Becoming Vegan)
You can read more about protein in the vegan diet in the book Becoming Vegan or on websites such as and Vegetarian Resource Group.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine points out some of the risks of low-carb diets on their website here:
And, if you're interested in reading "Five Protein Myths" on PCRM's website, you can read this here:

If you haven't gone vegan yet, please do so today! Veganism is a compassionate, non-violent choice. It promotes non-violence towards animals, the environment, and your health. You can find information on going vegan at You can also read Mercy for Animals' trendy and colourful Vegetarian Starter Guide (if you live in the US, you can order one at, or, if you live outside the US, you can see the PDF online for free at
And, if you're already a vegan, I hope you can use this information to help others become vegan, too!
Have a nice day, and thanks for reading!
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