Vegetarian myths versus reality

  • All vegetarians are animal-rights activists. Research shows that most people adopt a vegetarian diet for the health benefits. The second most cited reason is animal rights. Even the people who mentioned animal rights say that health is the number one reason they follow a vegetarian diet.

  • Vegetarians don’t get enough protein. There was a time when nutritionists and dietitians even said this _ but no longer. Now, we know that vegetarians get plenty of protein. What they don’t get is the excessive amount of protein found in the typical modern diet. If you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, then getting enough protein is not an issue.

  • Vegetarians don’t get enough calcium. This myth is applied, in particular, to vegans - vegetarians who have eliminated meat and milk products from their diets. Somehow, the notion got started that the only good source of calcium is milk and cheese. Granted, milk does have a good supply of calcium, but so do many vegetables _ especially green, leafy veggies. The truth is, vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis (a deficiency of calcium that leads to weak bones) because the body assimilates the calcium they eat more easily during digestion.

  • Vegetarian diets aren’t balanced, so vegetarians are risking their health for their principles. First of all, a vegetarian diet isn’t out of balance. It has a good proportion of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat - the three macro nutrients that are the cornerstone of any diet. Plus, vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most of micro nutrients. Another way to look at it is this: The average meat eater consumes one or fewer servings of vegetables a day and no servings of fruit. If a meat eater does eat a vegetable, chances are it’s a fried potato. “Out of balance” depends on your perspective.

  • A vegetarian diet is all right for an adult, but kids need meat to develop properly. This somehow makes the assumption that protein from plants isn’t as good as protein from meat. The truth is, protein is protein. It is all made from amino acids. Children need 10 essential amino acids to grow and develop properly. These amino acids are as readily available in plants as they are in meat.

=Loren & Kathleen Schiele=

#1: actually, I’d originally adopted a vegetarian diet ethical reasons.
Thank you for copy/ pasting these myths.

You are always welcome snog :wink: I’m curious about these myths also.When I found out about these, I have pasted it here so that others will also be informed. Good day :smiley:

Myth: Fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen

Fact: Studies show that sometimes you can get more nutrients from frozen veggies, depending on variety and how old the vegetables at your supermarket are. That’s because produce starts losing nutrient quality as soon as it’s picked.

Frozen vegetables are flash-frozen right after harvest so they are preserved at their peak of freshness when they are most nutritious. Your best bet in terms of taste, nutrition, and the environment is still local in-season produce. When that’s not an option frozen can be a better choice (from a nutrient standpoint) than spinach that takes two weeks to reach your table.

Myth: Cooked veggies are less nutritious than raw

Fact: It depends on the vegetable. “Cooking destroys some nutrients, but it releases others,” says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat. It destroys vitamin C and folic acid, according to Nestle, which is why it’s not a great idea to cook oranges.

On the other hand, she says, cooking releases vitamin A and the nutrients in fiber and makes them easier to digest. It’s also easier for your body to absorb more lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, in cooked tomato sauce than from raw tomatoes.

Steam or roast veggies instead of boiling, which leaches out water-soluble vitamins into the cooking water.

Myth: Iceberg lettuce doesn’t have any nutrients

Fact: Iceberg lettuce is mostly water so it’s hardly loaded with vitamins, but a large head does contain small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

You’ll get more nutrients from other greens that have less water such as romaine or butterhead lettuce, but contrary to popular belief, iceberg lettuce does have some nutritional value.

Myth: Local vegetables are always cheaper

Fact: It’s certainly true that local produce can be good for your budget. This is especially true during the peak of harvest when farmers need to get rid of an abundant crop and there is a lot of competition.

However, there are no guarantees. Local food “is not in any way subsidized so you are paying the real cost of producing the food, and the economies of scale are not there,” says Nestle.

Some tips for finding the best deals at your local farmers’ market: Shop at the end of the day when farmers are likely to mark down their prices in order to get rid of their inventory. (Go early in the day if selection is more important than price.) Ask your farmer for a volume discount if he or she doesn’t already offer one. Take advantage of special deals on bruised or overripe veggies. Prices vary from farmer to farmer so shop around before buying.

Myth: Potatoes make you fat

Fact: Potatoes are virtually fat-free and low in calories. These delicious and inexpensive root vegetables contain a healthy dose of fiber, which can actually make you feel satisfied for longer and help you lose weight.

It’s not the potatoes themselves that make you fat. It’s how you cook them and what you slather on your spuds that can cause you to pack on the pounds.

Myth: Bagged salads are squeaky clean

Fact: They’re not nearly as clean as you may think. Consumer Reports tests found bacteria that are “common indicators of poor sanitation and fecal contamination” in 39 percent of the 208 packages of salad greens it tested. It didn’t find E. coli 0157:H7, listeria, or other disease-causing bacteria in its samples.

But it’s still a good idea to give greens a good rinse to remove residual soil before eating even if the bag says they’re “pre-washed” or “triple-washed.”

Myth: Farmer’s markets only have organics

Fact: Just because a vegetable (or anything for that matter) is sold at a farmers’ market does not mean that it’s organic. It still must be certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a guarantee that it was grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Some farmers will say they are in the process of getting certified, they grow crops without synthetic chemicals but can’t afford the certification process, or they only use chemicals when they have no choice and don’t use them when it’s close to harvest time. It’s your call on whether you trust that farmer.

The more vibrantly colored it is, the healthier it is

Rooted in an environmental “don’t mess with the brightly-colored frogs” sort of expertise, a longstanding bit of advice in the world of fruits and vegetables claims that the more richly colored a food is, the more nutritional value it contains. As in the case of “spinach over iceberg lettuce,” there’s no denying that in certain instances, this rule absolutely applies. However, there are plenty of exceptions to this idea of which we should all be made aware.

White cabbage (as dully colored as its name suggests) is one of the most vitamin and nutrient-packed foods available, containing Vitamins A, B, C, and K as well as calcium, iron, and fiber. White cauliflower is basically just a bundled chunk of antioxidants. Celery has protein and calcium (in addition to boasting a miniscule amount of calories). Red and pink pinto beans? They’ve got nothing that the white variety doesn’t have.

Fresh is always better than frozen or canned

If you’re growing fruit and vegetables in your backyard then you can skip this section – produce straight off of the vine is the healthiest form you will find. However, that “fresh” produce sitting out in the grocery? It’s usually traveled quite a distance to be there and distance means time, which means that many of the nutrients in that produce have been lost, despite what the signs claim.

The above issue of shipment depleting the inherent nutritional value of certain veggies played a big role in why the business of quick-freezing and canning vegetables took off in the first place. Freezing peas, for instance, ensures that they are just as full of vitamins and minerals when you thaw them in March as they were when they were bagged up in February. The conditions afforded to canned spinach and pumpkin can actually increase the amount of vitamins contained in each.

Raw veggies are superior to cooked veggies

Not accounting for taste, there is no clear-cut nutritional benefit to choosing either raw or cooked vegetables. While the heat (and moisture, if you’re boiling) involved in cooking can sometimes cause some vegetables to lose some nutrients, the cooking can also increase the amounts of other nutrients. The most cited example of this is in tomatoes, which – when cooked – release more lycopene than their raw counterparts (and lycopene can help your body against diseases like prostate cancer). Additionally, the process of cooking can break down fiber in many vegetables, making that vital nutrient easier to process.

Many variables factor into any comparison (type of vegetable, how fresh it is, how it was stored, how it is cooked, how it is prepared, etc.) but unless you lit them on fire, vegetables are going to give you a pretty heavy dose of nutrition whether or not you cook them.

Spinach is high in iron (and will make you strong)

Popeye ate spinach and it made him strong. Iron is strong. Basic cartoon-watching logic suggests that that must be cause-and-effect, right? Wrong.

The reason the myth began (and the reason that later informed the Popeye character’s mythology) was because of a misplaced decimal point in an 1870 German study about how much iron was contained within the leafy green.

Later, more accurate studies discovered that spinach had no more iron than comparable vegetables and that, coincidentally, the human body could not easily absorb the type of iron contained within, anyway. Oh well. It’s still strong to the finish.

Eating carrots will improve your eyesight

While it would be awesome if eating five pounds of baby carrots everyday would eventually grant one the power to see through walls and/or unleash optic blasts a la Scott Summers, the truth is that carrots really won’t improve your eyesight. This theory grew out of the fact that carrots contain beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A (which is used for vision, bone growth, and skin health) and a deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to what is called night blindness (which is exactly what it sounds like – an inability to effectively see in low-light situations).

Sounds logical enough, right? Well, the main issue here is in the word “improve”. Like all other vitamins, ingesting an abundance of vitamin A will not improve anything past a normal human level, it will simply help to maintain health (in this case, the health of your retinas) and then your body will either store or eliminate the excess (both can be problematic, in some instances).

(Also: if this one were true, your mother would have also encouraged you to eat foods like liver, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, and spinach to correct your vision – they are all loaded with vitamin A.)

Vegetable Myths and Misconceptions

* “Some vegetables are better than others” – Different vegetables contain different vitamins, mineral and phytochemcials – the best way to ensure you get the full range of all these beneficial compounds is to eat a variety of vegetables.

* “Organic vegetables contain more vitamins than those grown with pesticides” – While some studies show that organic fruit and vegetables do contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals, others show there is no significant difference. All vegetables, however they are grown, provide useful amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. 

* “Pesticide residues in vegetables increases the risk of cancer” – Experts agree that health benefits associated with eating more fruit and vegetables far outweighs any potential risk from pesticides.

* “Frozen and canned vegetables are not as healthy as fresh” – Frozen vegetables are processed literally within hours of being picked – they often contain higher levels of vitamins than fresh.  The canning process also increases level of certain nutrients – for instance, canned tomatoes have higher levels of absorbable lycopene (a phytochemical that can help protect against prostate cancer). 

* “Some vegetables such as carrots and parsnips have a high GI and are therefore best avoided” – The GI (glycaemic index) is only one measurement of what makes a food a good choice; other factors, such as the vitamin content and the amount of fat it contains are also important. Carrots and parsnips are a good source health promoting compounds such as beta-carotene and dietary fibre – although their GI may be higher than other vegetables, in average servings their glycaemic load (GL) is low. The GL takes into account the actual amount of carbohydrate in a serving as well as how quickly or slowly it is absorbed from the intestines (Does anyone know what a GI is? To what does it refer? I think it should be explained somewhere).

* “Bags of pre-prepared salad leaves contain hardly any vitamins compared with freshly prepared salad” – A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that bags of prepared salad contained less vitamins than freshly prepared salad, because the gasses added to the bags to extend shelf life and prevent the leaves from browning destroyed some of the vitamin C in the leaves. While this may be true – bagged salads do still contain some vitamin C, plus a lot of other useful components, such as phytochemicals, dietary fibre and vitamin K.

Carrots are full of sugar. Not exactly. One cup of chopped raw carrots contains just 52 calories, and 12 grams of carbs - fewer than you’d get from a cup of milk, or a medium size piece of fruit. Half of the “carrot carbs” are complex carbs, which help you feel full longer. The other half come from natural sugar, which is better than the processed sugar in candy bars. Carrots are also packed with fiber and vitamins, which boost blood sugar control and colon health.

Corn is nothing more than carbs. Yes, corn’s got carbs, but they’re the best kind: high-quality complex carbs. The plant also has little in common with high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener made from corn that has all the nutrition and fiber processed out of it. In fact, corn does double-duty as both a veggie and a whole grain, so it’s loaded with fiber. Corn also helps your heart, and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Vegetables are extremely healthy for you. There are many misconceptions about these disease-fighting foods, however. The following are some common myths you should watch out for.

Myth: They taste bad

Remember when Mom forced you to down your veggies before you had that mouth-watering piece of cake? This is one of the worst messages we can send to our children – that they need to suffer through the vegetables in order to make it to the truly good part of the meal. The truth is that many vegetables do indeed taste good. While some vegetables might not be as tasty to some, most people can find something they like if they try all of the different types of vegetables. For instance, many people love sweet roasted corn on the cob. In addition, there are many ways to prepare vegetables that can make them delicious. Roasting vegetables in just a little bit of olive oil can be a simple way to make them mouth-watering. You can also use them in recipes such as quiches or fritters. You will find a wide variety of cookbooks that explore the cooking of vegetables.

Myth: All vegetables are created equal

Some people feel that they can have whatever vegetables they want and get the same health benefits. This is not true. Although most vegetables are good for you to some extent, some are far better. Vegetables like spinach and broccoli are extremely healthy for instance, while iceberg lettuce provides far fewer benefits. A balance of a lot of different vegetables is very healthy, but there are some you might want to favor more than others. There is a great deal of information on the Internet and in books to explore the benefits of different vegetables.

Myth: Their importance is overrated

Some people may not understand how important vegetables truly are. They can truly extend your life. Many of them fight against cancer and other diseases. They can help lower problems like high blood pressure and other conditions that can lead to heart and other problems. Their importance is not overrated.

Myth: It is too late to start eating them

Some people who are older might feel that they cannot benefit from having their vegetables. This is not true. They can be healthful at any age. They may think that they are only for children. Again, not true.

Myth: They are no better than supplements/other food items

Some supplements will have you believe that vegetables are no better than them. Although some supplements are healthy, a lot of times the vegetables are better. They are worth eating. Because most are low calorie, they also work well with many diets.

Vegetables are extremely healthy and should be eaten regularly. Consider a wide range to keep yourself healthy.

Scientific studies reveal many proven facts about vegetables and the well-know myths continue to influence the world at large.

The myths about vegetables are so popular that it has revolutionized many industries and developed new perspectives from deep-rooted beliefs.

Fact listing of all the true vitamin content for each vegetable variety considered relatively unimportant to many consumers who are primarily interested in most well-known details and proven results, which are associated with the myths.

The controversies surrounding raw or cooked are vegetable myths. Perfect heavenly bodies are the example of eating seasonal raw vegetables.

Cooking vegetables before serving them was proofing that they were not a poisonous plant and led to the myth “root of all evil.”

~Muscle building~

Supernatural beings are often associated with the power from leafy salad greens. Varieties of lettuce and spinach enhance muscle tone but it was more contrite with good verses evil.

Later, this power food supposedly is the result of competing farm harvesters. Those picking small leafy green plants apparently picked their crops quicker than the pickers who were harvesting fewer large melons.

~Belly fat~

The cabbage family is believed to prevent old age and to keep a youthful appearance. There are common beliefs to date that a diet high in cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts will reduce fatty tissue in the abdomen area.

This idea allegedly was the variety of preparations and usefulness of these vegetables. They were often considered power potions and health remedies.

~Energy Stimulant~

Carrots were considered to deliver immediate results as an energizer. Compared to the performance of a quick rabbit, carrots have been sold in many forms to enhance physical fitness.

Carrots are also thought to promote dynamic eyesight, which long ago was like saying, “you have a sharp eye. “ Actually carrots in that respect were used to barter and for betting.


Vine or trellis vegetables such as peas, tomatoes, and peppers were believed to hold the key to plentiful or bountiful families because they produce an abundance of vegetables.

Peas in particular have been associated with royal tales to prove birth lineage. Before sonograms, families believed that if the mother craved runner beans, it was a boy, and tomatoes were a girl.


Root vegetables, especially potatoes, rich in minerals, were thought to contain precious chemicals like gold. Gold was thought to promote healthy cardiovascular health.

Throwing ripe red tomatoes to protest and show disapproval of a stage performer or public speaker evolved from the myths of antioxidants usefulness as a body cleanser.

Eating a large amount of vegetables is not necessary but eating a variety from the different vegetable groups helps promote good health.