Top Myths about Whole Foods Plant Based Diets: Part 1

Here is Part 1 of our series discussing the top myths around a plant-based diet.

Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet Definition

  • Consists of whole or minimally processed plants such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. It tends to minimize or exclude animal-based products such as meat, dairy, eggs.

PROTEIN:

  • Vegetarian and vegan diets meet or exceed recommended protein intakes.
  • Regular use of soy and legumes will ensure adequate protein intake.

N-3 FATTY ACIDS:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Long-chain n-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) important for the development and maintenance of the brain, eyes, cell membranes, pregnancy, and cardiovascular diseases. α-linolenic acid (ALA) is converted to EPA and DHA in the body. Men should get 1.6 grams/day and women should get 1.1 grams/day of ALA.
  • α-linolenic acid (ALA) is converted to EPA and DHA in the body. Men should get 1.6 grams/day and women should get 1.1 grams/day of ALA.The best plant sources of ALA are: flax seeds, chia seeds, camelina seeds, canola seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and their oils
  • The best plant sources of ALA are flax seeds, chia seeds, camelina seeds, canola seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and their oils. Note: high intakes of linoleic acid (vegetable oils, safflower oils) may reduce the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA.
  • Note: high intakes of linoleic acid (vegetable oils, safflower oils) may reduce the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA.

IRON:

  • Vegetarians generally consume as much or slightly more iron than omnivores.
  • Iron stores of vegetarians are less than nonvegetarians.-Elevated iron stores (high ferritin levels) independently associated with the risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Elevated iron stores (high ferritin levels) independently associated with risk of metabolic syndrome.-Absorption of non-heme iron from plant foods depends on the body’s need and regulated partially by the body’s iron stores.
  • The absorption of non-heme iron from plant foods depends on the body’s need and regulated partially by the body’s iron stores.

REFERENCE:

Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1970-1980.

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Sean Hashmi MD
Articles: 56

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