Common Plant-Based Diet Myths and How to Bust Them With Your Clients

Common Plant-Based Diet Myths and How to Bust Them With Your Clients

That Clean Life for Business just added a Whole Food Plant Based Diet to our list of exclusive programs, and we are so excited to share it with our Business Members!

Plant-based diets can be tricky, especially when avoiding ultra-processed food items like mock-meats. Luckily, our done-for-you program makes it incredibly simple and fun for your clients.

This resource includes:

  • 7-Days of 100% plant-based meals and snacks
  • An itemized grocery list for your client
  • An instructional prep guide to help keep your clients on track and organized
  • Tons of greens, beans, and whole grains for balanced nutrition

Unfortunately, in the online nutrition world, there are many health ‘gurus’ preaching dangerous plant-based diet guidelines. To help prepare you for questions you might experience in your practice, here are some common myths made popular by plant-based bloggers.

Myth #1: "It’s impossible to have a protein deficiency."

While protein needs are often over-emphasized in the media, they’re sometimes equally under-emphasized in plant-based circles. While the protein-deficiency disease Kwashiorkor doesn’t really exist in Western civilization, it’s still possible to consume too little protein, which can result in bone or muscle issues later in life.

This is made more complicated by the claims that simply eating rice and broccoli can provide all the grams of protein our bodies need in a day. While this might be true, the essential amino acid lysine will not be consumed in adequate amounts. Over time, this results in less usable protein in the body, and suboptimal protein levels.

Luckily, legumes provide plenty of lysine! As long as your clients agree to eat 3 servings of legumes a day, they likely will not need to worry much about protein beyond that.

Myth #2: "Dairy leeches calcium from bones, therefore calcium is not a concern on dairy-free diets."

This myth is so common that even people who are not seeking out alternative dietary advice are likely to stumble across it, so prepare to bust this myth a lot in your practice.

While cow’s milk is not the most absorbable source of calcium, it’s still important for people on plant-based diets to make an effort to get their calcium. Great sources of highly-absorbable calcium are cooked cruciferous veggies, tofu set with calcium, and fortified plant milk (like almond milk). Other calcium sources include almonds/almond butter, blackstrap molasses, white beans, and dried figs. By consuming at least 3 servings a day of these foods, calcium needs should be met most of the time.

Myth #3: "Oil is an unhealthy junk food."

Many proponents of a whole food plant-based diet believe that oil is an unhealthy food and should be avoided by everyone. While it’s true that oil is high in calories and fat and relatively low in other nutrients, high-quality oils have been shown to promote good health.

Extra-virgin olive oil, in particular, can be cardio-protective and is associated with lower levels of inflammation and associated diseases like Diabetes. While whole foods like avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, can provide much of our fatty acid requirements, there is certainly benefit to including some oils as well.

Supplements and Other Considerations for a Plant-Based Diet:

B12: Ensure your client is supplementing with this essential nutrient by consuming fortified food and/or taking an isolated supplement of 1,000mcg a few times per week.

Iron: Plant-based non-heme iron is less bioavailable, and thanks to the fibre and phytic acid in plant foods, it’s even more poorly absorbed. Iron needs increase by about 30% on a plant-based diet due to these factors. Luckily, the foods that are high in iron are also typically high in protein and calcium (like beans and greens), so as long as the diet is balanced, needs should be met. Individual iron needs may vary and some clients (especially women of child-bearing age) may need additional supplementation.

Omega-3: While foods like flax and walnuts provide plenty of ALA, there is good research to show that people on plant-based diets do not have the same levels of DHA as omnivores. Luckily, there are micro-algae-based DHA supplements available.

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