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Vegan Fact Sheet

The most frequently asked questions about Veganism.

This growing collection aims to answer the most common asked questions Vegans get.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
We look at both sides of the argument and strive to be objective, unbiased, and honest.
Vegan Fact Sheet - The Most Common Asked Questions
Last updated on August 17, 2021, and last reviewed by an expert on October 27, 2018.
In this article

What do Vegans eat?

Vegans eat everything except animal products or foods containing animal products.

Vegan Fact Sheet - The Most Common Asked Questions

Is a Vegan diet healthy and complete nutritionally speaking?

Like with every diet, it totally depends on what you eat.

Animals also kill for food. Why shouldn’t we?

Animals do lots of things we don’t do and wouldn’t do! We shouldn’t kill because we have a choice.

Do we need meat and dairy products for our health?

No, not at all. Studies show that consumption of animal products is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

Are humans naturally carnivores?

A common view is that humans are omnivores. Our physique speaks against it. The teeth of carnivores are long, sharp and pointed. Herbivores and humans have blunt molars, e.g. to grind grain. The carnivore’s saliva is much more acidic than that of herbivores. The acidic saliva is ideal for splitting animal protein. However, humans and herbivores have basic saliva, which is ideal for digesting carbohydrates.

Does a Vegan diet cause calcium deficiency?

The myth that the consumption of milk and dairy products is necessary to meet its calcium needs is unfortunately still widespread. There are plenty of calcium-rich plant-based foods to help you easily meet your calcium needs. Vegetable calcium sources include green vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Many plant variants are even more calcium-rich than cow’s milk (e.g., arugula 160mg / 100g, cow’s milk 120mg / 100g).

Where do Vegans get protein from?

All plant foods contain proteins - some more, some fewer. The best protein sources include legumes, cereals, nuts, and seeds. In a balanced Vegan diet, a protein deficiency is very unlikely.

Good carbs, bad carbs — How to make the right choices
Suggested read: Good carbs, bad carbs — How to make the right choices

How can a Vegan diet and sports work together?

Venus Williams (Wimbledon winner), Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1 professional), Sebastian Utz (German boxer), Dirk Nowitzki (professional basketball player), … What do these top athletes have in common? Right. They are all Vegan.

Is it more expensive to eat Vegan foods compared to a standard diet?

Vegan does not mean expensive. It all depends on the diet. Meat substitute products, Vegan cheese, and co. are expensive, and not necessary. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, rice, pasta, quinoa, couscous, and other side dishes are much cheaper than meat. You do not have to be a professional to cook Vegan. There are endless Vegan recipes on the internet that you can try. You’ll be amazed at how versatile and easy Vegan cooking can be.

Conclusion: If you make your own food and do not eat constantly abroad or fast food products, then a Vegan diet is no more expensive than a conventional diet.

Does a Vegan diet cause deficiency?

If I eat mainly junk and fast food, and generally low-nutrient products, then the likelihood of getting deficiency symptoms is high. This applies to Vegans as well as non-Vegans. A Vegan diet does not cause deficiency symptoms per se.

The only thing Vegans need to look for is vitamin B-12. Here a supplementation is recommended.

Is soya harmful to the environment?

“Over the past fifty years, production has increased tenfold from 27 million tons to 269 million tons. (…) For the expansion of the arable land, huge forest and savanna areas have been and are still being transformed.”

(2018, WWF, Soy - the request is increasing)

Suggested read: Animal vs. plant protein: What’s the difference?

There is no denying that the increasing demand for soy involves environmental damage. However, it should be noted that about 80 percent of imported soy is used worldwide as cattle feed.

It is therefore unfair to claim that Vegans are responsible for the fact that the bulk of soya is actually used for factory farming.

Is soy unhealthy?

No. According to the current state of science, soy has more positive than possible negative health effects. The soybean has a high protein & nutrient content and contains all the essential amino acids. It also contains many monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that counteract harmful cholesterol.

Are carbohydrates bad for you?

Carbohydrates are the single most important thing you can eat for health and weight loss. - Dr. Mark Hyman

What Dr. Hyman speaks about are complex carbohydrates (“slow carbs”) - this includes almost all plants. Slow carbs do not immediately raise blood sugar levels but are slowly absorbed. In addition, they contain phytochemicals that lower the risk of cancer. You should keep your fingers away from heavily processed and starchy products (such as pasta, flour, rice, bread). These simple carbohydrates quickly boost blood sugar levels. The rule is the more untreated the food, the healthier.

Do plants experience pain?

Yes and no. Plants can respond to “pain,” but they don’t feel like us. If you tear a branch off a tree, you hurt it. If you tear a pig’s tail off, you hurt him. The difference between the tree and the pig is that the tree has no brain and no pain receptors. The pig has pain receptors.

How do plants feel pain?

Plants have a bioelectrochemical system, with which they react to environmental influences. If the plant is in danger, it forms as a defense reaction phytochemicals, antioxidants that protect them. For example, if a caterpillar eats a tomato leaf, the plant produces substances that do not taste the insect.

Suggested read: What every vegan should know about vitamin B12.

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