Quantcast

12 Mistakes to Avoid on a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

Popular
iStock

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

A balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can provide many health benefits.

These diets have been associated with weight loss, better blood sugar control, a decreased risk of heart disease and a lower risk of certain types of cancer (1, 2, 3, 4).


However, it can be challenging to maintain a well-rounded vegetarian diet that provides all the nutrients you need.

This article uncovers some of the most common mistakes people make on a vegan or vegetarian diet, and how to avoid them.

1. Assuming That Vegan or Vegetarian Products Are Automatically Healthier

Unfortunately, just because a food product is labeled "vegetarian" or "vegan" doesn't necessarily mean it's healthier than the regular alternative.

For example, almond milk is a popular, plant-based milk that's often a staple in vegan diets.

However, while almond milk is low in calories and enriched with several important vitamins and minerals, it is not necessarily healthier than cow's milk.

For example, 1 cup (240 ml) of low-fat cow's milk contains 8 grams of protein, while the same amount of unsweetened almond milk contains only 1 gram (5, 6).

Sweetened almond milk can also be high in added sugar, with 16 grams of sugar in just 1 cup (7).

Other vegetarian products, such as soy-based veggie burgers, nuggets and meat alternatives, are often highly processed, with a long list of artificial ingredients. So they're often no healthier than other non-vegetarian processed foods.

Despite being vegetarian, these products are also often high in calories, yet lacking the protein, fiber and nutrients necessary for a balanced meal.

While these products may ease your transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet, it's best to consume them in moderation with a diet rich in nutritious, whole foods.

Summary: Many foods marketed as vegetarian or vegan are often highly processed, high in added sugar or lacking in nutrients. If you include these products in your diet, eat them only in moderation.

Next Page

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More
Workers selectively harvest slightly under-ripe Syrah grapes to make a Blanc de Noir wine for the Israeli winery Zaza on Aug. 6, 2019 in central Israel. Israeli vintners are harvesting their grapes earlier than they did a decade ago due to shorter winters and more intense summers. David Silverman / Getty Images

The climate crisis may be coming for your favorite wines.

Read More
Sponsored
An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on Nov. 15, 2018 in Paradise, Calif. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.

Read More
Slowing deforestation, planting more trees, and cutting emissions of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases like methane could cut another 0.5 degrees C or more off global warming by 2100. South_agency / E+ / Getty Images

By Dana Nuccitelli

Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.

Read More
A baby burrowing owl perched outside its burrow on Marco Island, Florida. LagunaticPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.

Read More