Are You Vegan? Then Avoid These Crucial Diet Mistakes
Vegan diets are constantly increasing in popularity. And it’s no surprise given that there are many reasons to follow a vegan diet such as reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
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Moreover, a vegan diet can be very healthy and nutritious. Yet some vegans make some crucial mistakes that prevent them from maintaining a well-rounded diet. Let’s uncover some of them and learn how to avoid them.
Assuming vegan products are healthier
When you hear the word vegan, you automatically think of something fresh and healthy. Unfortunately, many vegan products marketed as healthy are anything but. Most of the times, they are highly processed, high in sugar and low in nutrients.
Take almond milk, for example. It may be lower in calories, but it usually lacks the protein, fiber and nutrients found in natural, cow’s milk.
Consuming too few calories
Vegans have a lot of foods and food groups they can’t touch, which makes it kind of difficult for them to meet their caloric requirements. This isn’t exactly a good thing, given that calories are the body’s main source of energy.
A limited number of calories can adversely affect the body’s proper functioning, generating nutrient deficiencies, slower metabolism and fatigue. To avoid all this, people following a vegan diet should always make sure they meet their calorie needs.
Drinking too little water
Fiber-rich vegetables, legumes and whole grains are staple ingredients for a vegan diet. For those consuming fiber, like vegans and vegetarians, it is extremely important to consume a lot of water as well.
That’s because water helps fiber work its way through the digestive tract and prevents problems such as bloating and constipation, usually associated with consuming too much fiber.
Not getting enough vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, required for nerve tissue, brain function and the production of red blood cells, among other things.
Unfortunately, given that vitamin B12 can mostly be found in animal products, vegans are at a greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. To prevent this, it is recommended to eat fortified foods or consider supplements to meet the nutritional needs.
Not getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce triglycerides, inflammation and support brain health. The main sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish and fish oil.
When it comes to plant foods, the omega-3 fatty acid type they provide is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which can be used by the body in limited amounts. To make sure they get enough Omega-3 fatty acids but don’t exceed the recommended ALA amounts, vegans can try omega-3 plant-based supplements.
Consuming too many refined carbs
If you’re a vegan and considered replacing meat with refined carbs, don’t do it, it’s a trap! That’s because refined carbs don’t have the same beneficial fiber like whole grains, due to their processing.
Consuming too many refined carbs can lead to belly fat and an increased risk of diabetes. To avoid all this, replace refined grains like pasta and white rice with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa or oats and add vegetables and fruits to get all the important nutrients.
Having a diet low in calcium
We all know calcium is an important mineral for your bones, muscles and nervous system.
Calcium can be found in various foods, but the most important source is dairy products. For this reason, it’s challenging for vegans to get the required amount of calcium. But it is not impossible. There are calcium-rich plant foods such as kale, broccoli, almonds or figs that can successfully provide all the calcium you need. Try them!
For a healthy and nutritious vegan diet, you can find inspiration from our 14-Day Vegan Meal Plan.