Often people who follow a vegetarian diet tend to make mistakes. Although it is a food model that has gained popularity for its benefits, its poor implementation entails various health risks.
In this regard, the position of many experts is aligned with that of the United States Association of Dietitians. He stated in 2009 that “Properly planned vegetarian diets are healthy, nutritionally adequate, and can provide health benefits and disease prevention.”
Therefore, to get the most out of this way of eating, it is convenient to know what to avoid and how it can be improved so that it doesn’t have a negative impact. Keep reading!
Features of the vegetarian diet
More and more people are deciding to reduce their meat consumption, or are opting for a completely vegan diet. Between these two options, different types of vegetarians are distinguished based on the foods of animal origin that are excluded. Among the most common are the following:
- lacto-ovo vegetarian: includes all foods of plant origin plus the intake of eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese or yogurt).
- Lacto vegetarian: Eliminate meat, fish and eggs, but keep milk (cow, goat or sheep) and its derivatives.
- egg vegetarian: As in the previous one, meat and fish are excluded, although dairy products are also included.
- vegan diet: is based solely on foods of plant origin.
- Flexitarian: halfway between a vegan and an omnivore, since she tries to be a predominantly vegetarian diet with the sporadic intake of meat, fish and eggs.
Most frequent mistakes in the vegetarian diet
In addition to animal welfare and caring for the planet, a plant-based diet offers health benefits. However, to achieve such effects, a few key points need to be looked at.
1. Not getting enough protein at every meal
Protein intake is required it plays an important role in many bodily functions. Aside from the recommended total amount (which depends on one’s weight and activity), it is important to pay attention to the periodicity.
Therefore, it is preferable that this is present in the 3 main meals of the day. Consumption of 2 to 3 meals a day with 25 to 30 grams of protein each is estimated to be optimal for the stimulation of muscle synthesis in healthy adults and young people.
Some of the major sources of protein in vegetarian diets are of the same quality as animal protein. This means they provide all the amino acids the body needs to build protein. In other cases, there are deficient amino acids.
Second the authors of an article published in The Medical Journal of Australia:
2. Abuse of meat substitutes
Plant-based protein sources can be quite varied. The most important are legumes, soybeans (in the form of tempeh, tofu, or textured soybeans), mycoproteins, and some whole grains like quinoa or oats. If the diet is also vegetarian, eggs and dairy products are included.
In addition to these, some meat “substitutes” have risen on the market in the form of hamburgers, sausages, Nuggets, cheeses, sausages, etc. However, you need to keep in mind that most of these are processed foods and, therefore, are no healthier than their animal-based counterparts.
So that, They are products that can be used at specific times. For every day it is better to use direct sources and resort to homemade recipes to prepare hamburgers, meatballs or pates at home.
3. Few fruits and vegetables
As we have already deduced, vegetarian diets are not always healthy or better than an omnivorous diet. They can also be low in nutrients, highly processed, or insufficient in quantity.
While there are actually many vegan manufactured products out there, the best option for a healthy vegetarian diet is Introduce lots of fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, or whole grains. Also egg and cheese if taken.
In this sense, reducing meat intake, or adopting a vegan diet, is a perfect opportunity to introduce fresh and nutrient-rich foods as the basis of the diet. Also use water as your main drink to stay hydrated and avoid juices, sodas or alcoholic beverages.
4. Not paying attention to key nutrients in the diet
Experts agree as a well-planned and balanced vegetarian diet must not lead to nutritional deficiencies, with the exception of the case of vitamin B12 which will be discussed later. However, there are some key nutrients that need to be given a little more attention. These include the following:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
All can be provided from plant-based sources or fortified foods. Despite this, you need to know what they are and how they should be treated to avoid the problems of absorption and availability of the same.
5. Do not take vitamin B12 supplements
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is found in foods of animal origin such as red meat, poultry, fish and eggs. For this reason it is one of the nutrients that must be taken into account in diets that do not contain this type of product, as in the case of vegan diets.
His the shortage is related with the appearance of megaloblastic anemia, with symptoms such as tiredness and weakness. In addition, other signs such as pale skin, palpitations, weight loss, numbness in the hands, depression, confusion, among others, may appear.
When following a vegetarian diet, it is necessary to take fortified foods and evaluate the possibility of resorting to supplements if the needs are not covered by the diet. These are safe and easy to swallow.
6. Drink vegetable drinks as a substitute for milk
Vegetable drinks have been used to replace cow’s milk. Until a few years ago, most of it was made with soy, but today there are numerous alternatives such as almonds, hazelnuts, coconut, oats, rice, animal feed, etc.
And although they are valid to replace milk in some recipes or to be taken as a drink, nutritionally they do not have the same equivalence. Therefore, calcium, phosphorus or protein will need to be supplied with other foods.
7. Thinking that all foods suitable for vegans are healthy
At the moment it is easy to find a large catalog of foods suitable for vegan diets in specialized shops and supermarkets. However, just because they contain only plant-based ingredients doesn’t mean they are healthy products.
Actually, many are ultra-processed products with significant amounts of low-quality fats, added sugars, salt and refined flours. Foods that should not be included in the daily diet, as their consumption is correlated multiple health problems.
8. Prepare the same dishes
Not changing recipes is one of the main mistakes of the vegetarian diet. In fact, this is why many end up leaving this way of eating aside. But it is possible to vary meals so that it does not become boring. With vegetable ingredients you can prepare a large number of simple, tasty and original dishes.
General advice to avoid the most frequent mistakes of the vegetarian diet
If you’re thinking about following a vegetarian diet, don’t know where to start, or think you’re not doing it right, the best advice is to seek professional help. A specialist dietitian is best suited to develop an appropriate guideline with specific amounts and nutrients.
In general, however, there are a few basic steps you can take to make a plant-based diet healthy and safe.
- Prioritize the consumption of fresh, whole, nutrient-rich, quality produce.
- Introduce legumes, soy derivatives, nuts, seeds and whole grains to ensure the supply of all essential amino acids.
- Include fruit, vegetable desserts, oatmeal, bread spreads, or nuts in breakfasts and snacks.
- Eat enough of a variety of vegetables which provide fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and multiple phytochemicals. They can be included in the form of Insavory, vegetable creams, roasted in the oven as a garnish, etc.
- Pay special attention to sources of calcium, especially if you avoid dairy products. Seeds, nuts, legumes, and leafy greens provide this and other key minerals.
- Extra virgin olive oil is still the best for cooking and dressing. Also in flaxseed, chia and walnuts are precursors of the fatty acids EPA and DHA.
- Avoid processed foods with added sugars, hydrogenated fats, and refined flours as much as possible.
- Pay attention to foods fortified with vitamin B12 or opt for a supplement.
In addition to all of this, it’s important to keep in mind that changes in habits take time to adjust to. Slowing down, seeking advice, and enjoying each step will go a long way in transitioning to a healthy vegetarian diet.
The post The 8 most frequent mistakes when following a vegetarian diet appeared first in research-school.