10 Vegan Myths Debunked

10 Vegan Myths Debunked 10) ‘Humans Are Natural Vegetarians’ To answer whether or not this often used statement is the case, we need to look at humans on an anatomical level OK so we’re definitely NOT primarily carnivores – our teeth are certainly no good for tearing through flesh in the same way as lions, for example

Plus the acid in our guts is nowhere near strong enough to digest raw meat So if we are looking to work in line with our anatomical design, our diet should be similar to that of our cousins – monkeys and apes Their dinnertime mainly consists of fruits, nuts and leaves So we too must be natural vegetarians, right? Well actually, wrong According to LiveScience, learning to cook and eating meat was actually what EVOLVED humans FROM apes

Studies published in the National Academy of Sciences have found that it would have been biologically implausible for humans to develop such a large brain without the extra calorie boost that comes from a meat-based diet And it’s this larger and more developed brain which key in distinguishing us from our cousins So what this ultimately shows us that humans are evolutionarily plant AND meat eaters It’s likely if it wasn’t for meat, we would never have gotten top of the food chain 9) ’Eating Soy Causes Cancer’ One myth commonly cited by non-vegans is that eating soy, one of the biggest meat substitutes in a vegan diet, increases the risk of cancer – most notably breast cancer

So where did this myth come from? Well it’s because of the isoflavones which are found in soy They’re plant-derived oestrogens and, since most breast cancers are sensitive to oestrogen, soy has been linked to causing breast cancer BUT according to dietician Katherine Zeratsky, food sources of soy DON’T contain high enough levels of isoflavones to increase the risk of breast cancer In fact the American Cancer Society even reported that there is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods may even LOWER the risk of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer This might be because the isoflavones can actually block the more potent NATURAL oestrogens in the blood, therefore making them less likely to grow

And if that’s not enough of a health benefit in itself, the British National Health Service reported that a diet high in fiber, such as that supplied by eating soy-products, has been found to LOWER the risk of some cancers such as bowel and colorectal cancer 8) ‘Vegan Diet Reverses Heart Disease’ According to the British Heart Foundation, it has long been speculated that a low-fat vegetarian or vegan diet is the ONLY one capable of ‘reversing’ heart disease Yes going vegan has lots of health benefits, but this isn’t necessarily one of them A British Heart Foundation study published in 2014 looked at 198 patients to investigate whether eating a strict plant-based diet could in fact stop or even reverse heart disease It found that in the 177 patients who stuck to the diet, the majority reported a reduction in heart disease symptoms and 22% had disease reversal confirmed by test results

So far so accurate But the study didn’t JUST rule out animal products – it also cut out sugar, juice, salt and nuts – products which vegans can eat as part of their diet Therefore to say that it’s a VEGAN diet alone that reverses heart disease is somewhat inaccurate In fact, not only is it inaccurate, but the OPPOSITE may just be true That’s because according to work published by the NHS, some unbalanced plant-based diets can even INCREASE the risk of heart disease

7) ‘Fish Don’t Feel Pain’ It’s sometimes thought by non-vegans or pescatarians that fish have a short memory and are insensate which means, therefore, they can be caught, killed and eaten without guilt Well, they’re wrong Back in 2016, the journal ‘Animal Sentience’ published Australian neuroscientist Brian Key’s essay ‘Why Fish Do Not Feel Pain’ In it, he argued that it’s only mammal brains that have a structure called the neocortex, which therefore mean they feel suffering Therefore, fish, who DON’T have a neocortex, musn’t be able to feel pain

But that’s like saying that because we travel using legs, then fish, who have no legs, can’t travel It doesn’t really stack up Angling is the so-called ‘gentle art’, but really there’s nothing gentle about it at all According to PETA, scientists have identified and mapped out TWENTY pain receptors in fishes’ mouths and heads – among them is those VERY areas where an angler’s barbed hook would penetrate a fish’s flesh when catching fish for food PETA also notes that fish have been found to release endorphins and, just like in us mammals, the only REASON for their nervous systems to produce these painkillers is to alleviate pain

6) ‘Vegan Diets Are Dangerous For Children’ It’s widely acknowledged that the first year of life is one of the most important developmental periods for a child And it’s ALSO widely acknowledged that nutritional deficiencies are common among those who adopt a vegan diet So surely it follows that a child raised on a vegan diet will not receive all the nutrients needed for the first stages of life? Not necessarily According to Britain’s NHS and the British Dietetic Association, a well-planned vegan-based diet can be suitable for anyone of ANY age In fact, some scientists have EVEN speculated that a vegan diet might be of MORE health benefit for children due to its naturally low saturated fat content

Of course with a vegan diet there IS risk of vitamin D, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 deficiency Yet with the right planning, knowledge, and supplements, a child CAN get everything they need while following a vegan diet The same too can be said for pregnant women As long as mums-to-be make sure they get enough iron and vitamin B12 through supplements, it is perfectly safe to remain on a vegan diet during pregnancy Here’s a question for you: Would you raise your child on a vegan diet? Let us know in the comments below

So far we have spoken about myths surrounding a vegan DIET But as any one of the 65 million vegans in the US would tell you, being vegan isn’t just about food – it’s a LIFESTYLE choice which tries to avoid cruelty to animals in ANY way As such, there are a whole host of things you may not even realise AREN’T vegan First up, there’s smoking

For one, the act of smoking itself is harmful to the planet and the animals within it, but the manufacturing methods of cigarettes also frequently involve animal testing Then there’s condoms While there ARE vegan-friendly condoms out there, most REGULAR condoms contain casein [kay-seen] It’s a protein derived from cow or goat’s milk which softens the latex, making it more comfortable for human use And don’t forget about all the medicines that contain animal-based derivatives such as lactose and gelatin

That’s not even to mention the fact that all medicine in the US, and in the UK too, is lawfully required to be safety tested on animals before entering the market All of this means that no medicine is technically vegan-friendly – quite the predicament if you’re feeling under the weather 4) ‘Rearing Cattle Is Bad For The Environment’ Cattle are often cited as being one of the biggest contributors to global warming The United Nations has calculated that, due to the release of methane, animal farming is responsible for 145% of all greenhouse gas emissions

But despite what people believe, cattle are actually one of the KEYS to reversing climate change That is, however, if the livestock are allowed to feed in the correct way OK so this next bit is a bit science-y In conventional grazing, cattle feed on the same area of land That area then becomes overgrazed and farmers douse it with fertiliser to make it grow back

While the fertilisers cause the grass to regrow, its use also means that organic matter in the soil DECREASES With a type of grazing called ‘mob’ grazing, however, the herd doesn’t graze on the same area They are instead rotated to OTHER areas, giving each area a longer resting period Without the need for fertiliser, the grass is able to grow more organically, in turn increasing the soil’s capacity to store carbon Therefore carbon dioxide is able to be taken OUT of the atmosphere and sequestered in the soil

So I guess cows really DO their bit for the environment after all 3) ‘You Need Meat To Be Healthy’ According to organisations such as the NHS and the British Heart Foundation, a balanced diet comprises eating meat and fish They’re a rich source of high biological value protein and essential nutrients Therefore, a diet with no meat or fish is unhealthy, right? Again, wrong According to PETA there is NO nutritional need for humans to eat any animal products – all of our dietary needs can be met by an animal-free diet

Not only that, but in reality it may just well be that EATING meat is unhealthy since its consumption has been linked to a whole host of health problems Processed red meat is now classified as a Group 1 carcinogen For a bit of context, that means it is now in the same category as SMOKING and ASBESTOS The International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed more than 800 studies that examined the link between meat and cancer The authors concluded that each 3 ounce portion of red meat eaten DAILY increases the risk of colorectal cancer, and in some cases pancreatic and prostate, by a staggering SEVENTEEN (17%) percent

2) ‘Vegans are Destroying The Rainforests For Soya’ In the last few years in particular, soy production has become a huge culprit in the destruction of rainforests and other critical ecosystems And who exactly is it that has the most soya in their diets? Vegans So it’s vegans who are destroying the rainforest Except, it’s not Rather, the destruction of the rainforest for soya can largely be blamed on heavily soya-dependent livestock farming

LIVESTOCK farming? Yep Turns out the vast majority of soya grown is used in ANIMAL agriculture ie not for a vegan diet Oh how wrong people can be

According to the World Wildlife Fund, soybean is the largest source of protein feed in the WORLD and is generally used in animal feed In fact up to SEVENTY percent of the soya grown globally goes into making the feed That means then that MOST of the world’s soybeans are consumed INDIRECTLY by humans through products like meat, dairy and eggs So if we really ARE keen in pointing the finger at who is destroying the rainforest, it’s definitely the non-vegans 1) ‘Cows Have To Be Milked Anyway’ Erm, no, they really don’t

This is one cited by non-vegans literally all the time as a reason to drink milk and use dairy products, but it’s oh so wrong Cows make milk for the same reason that human women make milk – in preparation for feeding their newborn If cows are not impregnated, they don’t produce milk It stands to reason Naturally, cows would give birth infrequently meaning they wouldn’t always be producing milk

On dairy farms, however, they are impregnated EVERY year so they produce a constant supply of milk for us Sadly, the cows’ babies are taken away shortly after birth Female calves may be slaughtered or raised to be milk producers themselves while male calves may be slaughtered outright or sold for veal Of course, being constantly pregnant or constantly producing milk means most dairy cows are spent by the time they are SIX It’s at this time that they’re sent off to the slaughterhouse where they are turned into low-grade meat products

But without the distress resulting from constant impregnation, giving birth and being separated from their young, cows could in fact live to TWENTY years or more

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