12 Vegetarian Myths

12 Vegetarian Myths
Picture: Kamil Macniak | Dreamstime
Victoria Mamaeva
Pharmaceutical Specialist

Vegetarianism – a lifestyle or diet that completely excludes food of animal origin, including fish, seafood.

Also very often there is a refusal to consume milk, eggs, cottage cheese and all other products that are also based to one degree or another on animals.

There has always been a lot of controversy and disagreement around this issue, but there are more and more followers of this movement from year to year. Many believe that such nutrition leads to healing and cleansing of the body, but for some people such a diet is strictly forbidden for health reasons, however, stereotypes and myths imposed by society do not allow them to abandon the vegetarian diet.

Myth 1 – Earth’s resources

By eating meat, people deplete the Earth’s natural resources.

Many tend to argue that the pasture required for livestock would be better used for growing crops, since animal husbandry requires much more water. This argument is illogical. It’s easy enough to refute it. Most of the land on our planet is not suitable for growing plants, but it does meet the requirements for keeping animals.

Calories – fuel for the body
Calories – fuel for the body

As for the correctness of the statement, we can only partially agree that most commercial livestock are fed mixtures of grains and soybeans that could be used as human food. Animal farming also requires more water, but the urine of grazing animals, which is almost water, is rich in nitrogen, which makes the soil fertile.

Myth 2 – vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can be obtained not only from animal products.

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Of all the existing misconceptions and myths about vegetarianism, this one is the most destructive for humans. Many adherents of this diet believe that they can get enough vitamin B12 from algae and brewer’s yeast (which, it is worth noting, do not contain it at all). However, this misconception is false.

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin

The vitamin found in plant products is simply useless for our body, it is not absorbed and not perceived. In addition, eating too much soy increases the body’s need for vitamin B12.

The only source of vitamin for our body are animal products, especially organ meats and eggs. You can also include dairy products in your diet, they also contain B12, however, in a smaller amount. This myth is the most dangerous, however, many people ignore it. Vegetarians today can consume over-the-counter vitamins or fortified foods. But, in any case, it is more beneficial for the body to consume vitamins in their natural form, i. obtained from food.

Myth 5 – omega-3

The human body can easily convert omega 6 fatty acids into omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 and omega 6 acids can only be obtained from food. Our body does not know how to convert or produce them. Therefore, denying yourself some foods, you make your body experience a deficiency of acids.

The role of vitamin D for humans
The role of vitamin D for humans

Omega-3-linolenic acid is found in whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables in small amounts insufficient for the normal functioning of the body, we can only get the optimal amount of them from eating food of animal origin (especially from fish and eggs).

Omega-6-linoleic acid is found primarily in vegetables, but is also present in small amounts in some animal fats. These acids have a significant impact on brain function and the immune system. Their strongest deficiency, as well as an excess in the body, is very dangerous, so it is extremely important to undergo an examination at least once a year and eat right.

Myth 4 – Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be obtained entirely from plant foods.

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Vitamin A is found mainly only in animal products. However, many vegetarians tend to believe that it can be obtained from plants that contain beta-carotene, a substance that the body can convert into vitamin A. This misconception is not correct. Transformation of carotene can occur only in the presence of bile salts.

Vitamin A is an important component of many processes in the human body
Vitamin A is an important component of many processes in the human body

This means that you should consume fat along with carotene to stimulate bile secretion. In addition, the body of many people is unable to perform this reaction due to age or individual characteristics.

One of the richest foods in vitamin A is the familiar butter, which is not only rich in vitamin A, but also provides the intestines with the fat needed to convert plant carotenes into active vitamin A.

Myth 5 – diseases

Meat eaters are more prone to various diseases (obesity, cancer, etc.) than vegetarians.

The statement is absolutely wrong. Studies have already shown more than once that the process of developing a disease, such as cancer, is influenced by completely different factors – hereditary risks, environment, lifestyle, etc. It is also scientifically proven that eating meat and animal products in moderation does not have any effect on our cardiovascular system.

Myth 6 – health

A diet low in fat and low in cholesterol makes people healthy.

Despite the fact that this misconception is the most widespread, modern scientists have been able to refute it. Just like the disease myth, this one has no scientific backing. Eating meat and food saturated with fats in moderation does not have a negative effect on the body.

Obesity is more than just being overweight
Obesity is more than just being overweight

On the contrary, studies have shown that unsaturated fats, not animal fats, are more dangerous. They can become causative factors in atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.

Excessive consumption of vegetable oil is very harmful to the body, as well as a diet rich in cholesterol and fat, which is very often the cause of heart disease and poor health. However, a diet with insufficient, low fat and cholesterol is equally harmful to our body. Doctors advise moderation in this matter, it is in this case that you are not threatened with any risks associated with health.

Saturated fats play an important role in the human body, so giving them up is a very stupid idea. These products provide an excellent source of energy for vital organs, protect arteries from damage by atherogenic lipoproteins, are rich in fat-soluble vitamins, help raise HDL levels in the blood and enable the use of essential fatty acids.

Myth 7 – Vegetarians are stronger than meat eaters

Vegetarians are more resilient and live longer than meat eaters.

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This myth was dispelled by an American scientist when he conducted a unique study. As it turned out, the mortality rate among vegetarians is much higher than among those who consume meat. The reasons are completely different.

And, despite the fact that vegetarians have a much lower percentage of heart disease, the fact remains. The lack of vitamins and microelements, which can only be obtained from food of animal origin, has a negative impact on the human body, causing and exacerbating some diseases.

Myth 8 – heart

The increase in meat consumption in the 20th century led to a dramatic increase in heart disease and cancer.

According to statistics, people of the last century consumed a lot of animal products and saturated fats, but there is no confirmation that these changes occurred at this time. In the 20th century, new foods enter the food industry such as margarine, processed vegetable oils, pasteurized milk, sweeteners, chemical lifeless foods, and more.

Superfood – food that should be in the diet
Superfood – food that should be in the diet

Together with environmental poisons, these “unhealthy” products saturated with various chemical additives have become the real culprits of most modern diseases – epidemics, cancer, heart disease, etc. Thus, we can safely say that meat consumption does not affect the development of diseases on a global scale.

Myth 9 – soy

Soy products can replace animal and dairy foods without harm to health.

This move was invented by talented marketers. The soybean industry brings in billions of dollars annually from the sale of its products. Sure, traditionally fermented soy products like miso or tempeh are healthy foods, but hyper-processed soy products are not.

Fermented soybeans contain extremely high levels of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that binds to minerals in the digestive tract and removes them from the body.

Amino acids: role in the human body
Amino acids: role in the human body

That is why, vegetarians very often meet with the problem of lack of iron and zinc in the body. In addition, soy products do not contain vitamins A and D, which are necessary for the body to absorb protein. That is why Asian peoples combine soy products with fish dishes or broths, harmoniously complementing their diet.

Among other things, recent studies have shown that phytoestrogens in soy products may be causative factors in breast cancer and infantile leukemia, as well as contribute to infertility and thyroid dysfunction. That is why you should not consume soy in excessively large quantities.

Myth 10 – back to basics

People by nature shouldn’t eat meat.

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Many vegetarians tend to think that people are herbivores due to some features of the jaw. However, it is not. The physiological needs of the body themselves lead a person to the fact that he needs meat to get some nutrients. The human stomach produces hydrochloric acid necessary for the breakdown of animal products.

In addition, the human pancreas produces a full range of digestive enzymes to process a wide variety of foods such as animal and plant foods.

Myth 11 – toxic substances

Products of animal origin contain substances that are toxic and poisonous to humans.

Carbohydrates are an important element of our diet
Carbohydrates are an important element of our diet

If this statement were true, then people would have long ago begun to die en masse from cancer and other terrible diseases. Of course, hormones, nitrates and pesticides are present in commercial products such as meat, milk, eggs, etc. that are on store shelves. However, avoiding these harmful substances is quite simple, all you need to do is buy organic products or grow them yourself.

Also, meat and fish may contain parasites, which are easy to avoid by observing banal precautions, as well as learning how to properly heat treat raw products.

Myth 12 – a meager soul

People who eat animal products are spiritually callous.

We have all heard many times that eating meat is wrong, inhumane and even soulless. However, this question, despite its non-academic nature, takes place. In religion there is no clear setting of the relationship between man and animals. Only in some individual countries is there a ban on eating the meat of a particular animal.

Principles of healthy eating for a long and healthy life
Principles of healthy eating for a long and healthy life
Eating meat or not eating is everyone’s choice, but you should be clear about the harm and stress for your body that you cause by refusing animal products. There is a huge range of vitamins and microelements that cannot be obtained from any other type of food, therefore, refusing meat, you knowingly doom your body to an exacerbation of the disease and a deficiency of useful nutrients.


All existing myths and disputes about vegetarianism around this food system have long been dispelled by scientists and doctors. Man cannot fully exist without animal products.

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