• Health & Wellness

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Busting plant-based diet myths

Many people eat a plant-based diet for health benefits and cultural and religious beliefs, while others just enjoy the savory taste of fruits and vegetables.

However, there are some people who shy away from a plant-based diet because of misconceptions.

Dr. Christine Nguyen, a Mayo Clinic family physician, talks about myths surrounding plant-based diets.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (:58) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

Vegetarian diets have the reputation of being bland and not appetizing.

"We might think of whole-food, plant-based foods as your boring old salad that is some lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes," says Dr. Nguyen.

Man with young child picking out fresh vegetables produce at grocery
Man at the grocery store selecting vegetables with young girl.

Myths about vegan diets

Prepared correctly, foods like asparagus, tofu and mushrooms can be savory. One of the biggest misconceptions about a plant-based diet is that it's difficult to get enough protein.

"Common whole-food, plant-based sources of protein include beans, legumes, some nuts and seeds," explains Dr. Nguyen.

Some people think this type of diet will lead to nutrient deficiencies. Eating a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables is key.

"The colors associated with the different fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients that can help boost the immune function," says Dr. Nguyen.

Additional micronutrients, like vitamin B12 and vitamin D, can be supplemented. It's also important to talk to your primary care clinician about your diet.

Plant-based diet benefits:

  • Reduce heart disease.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Improve gut health.
  • Weight management.
  • Cutdown on risk of chronic disease.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Reduces environmental footprint.

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