Arguments Against Veganism

So you’re considering becoming a vegan are you? Congrats! Right?

While the general consensus is that becoming vegan is the right choice for superior health, how true is this really?

Turns out being a vegan isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be. In fact, you could be setting yourself up for some major issues down the line, even if things look all peachy at first.

Rethinking your options now? You should be. In this article, we will be brining to your attention some very important considerations to make before becoming vegan, as it is far from ideal and not something that you should be coerced into. In fact, we urge you to seriously consider how it is going to (negatively) impact your life.

Argument #1: You Want To Be Swole’

no muscles

The only thing that could possibly eclipse how ‘trendy’ veganism has become is the fitness movement, since everyone wants big arms or a big booty.

You trying to get there being a vegan? Good luck with that.

We’re not saying it’s impossible, you just have a herculean task ahead of you, and modern day Hercules most of you are not.

Why does this happen? For one, it will become a daily chore to meet your protein requirements. Since most fitness experts recommend a minimum of 1g of protein per kg of bodyweight (and often times 2g/kg and higher is optimal), you will have a difficult time meeting this macro day after day.

Protein powders are a viable alternative, but these also come with a number of limitations, such as cost prohibitiveness, limited spectrum of amino acids or simple unpalatability. Vegan powders may lack the amount of heavily anabolic branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) required to stimulate the protein synthesis you want, and often times are simply incomplete proteins.

Add this to the fact that animal based foods contain an assortment of amino acids that can stimulate peptide hormones (IGF-1, for instance) within the human body and you can get a glimpse of why vegans have been dealt a bad hand. Or rather, have chosen a bad hand for themselves.

Argument #2: Bodyweight Control Is NOT Guaranteed

There is the major misconception that being vegan immediately equates to being leaner, especially when compared with animal loving carnivores.

To be fair, it can have a positive impact on your bottom line, but there are many times when this doesn’t work out the way you think it should on paper.

Vegan diets can be significantly lower calorie, but just as if you were following the diet of a classic meat eater, things can go wrong- and fast.

If you believe for one minute that being vegan means that you are guaranteed to be healthier, you are sorely mistaken. Indeed, by eliminating animal-based foods and dairy calorie intake is likely to be lower, but that is about as far as where your advantage ends.

Turns out, many vegetarians and vegans justify abstaining from animal-based products by consuming an overabundance of trashy processed, “vegan friendly” foods. This can include an assortment of packaged chips, sugar laden treats and much more, which while technically still vegan friendly, does nothing for your body and will make you sick and fat.

On the other hand, people that eat animal-based foods, including dairy, are likely to consume a larger number of calories, but owing to the natural thermic effect of many of those foods, a large proportion of calories are expended in the actually metabolism of those very foods.

The thermic effect of a food refers to the number of calories (usually expressed as a % of gross calories) that a specific food (or macronutrient group) expends to facilitate its breakdown.

So, technically speaking consuming 200 cal worth of meat is much better than consuming 200 cal from fried potato chips, since as much as 30% of the calories you consume from meat will be used for its breakdown and subsequent metabolism.

Chips, fats and other non-protein foods have much lower thermic effects, so you lose that major advantage from the get-go.

Argument #3: Your Social Life Will Suck

no social life

Do you value weekend relaxation and spending time with friends and family? If you do, and are considering becoming a vegan, you might as well relish those last moments since you won’t have many of them after you convert.

The simple truth of the matter is the fact that most restaurants and bars are not vegan friendly. Is it surprising considering the fact that the endless assortment of pizza, fried chicken joints, burger outlets and more hardly have vegan friendly options?

Even good old ice cream is not often offered in vegan friendly options.

Not to mention the fact that if your weekend sessions include a lot of drinking, you stand to gain a sizable amount of body fat from the empty calories you consume.

Hey, are not saying it’s impossible to just keep in mind that you might be forced to limit your social interaction and weekly handouts in and efforts to maintain your vegan conscious lifestyle.

Enjoy your glass of water while hanging with the guys this weekend!

Argument #4: Your Sex Life Will Suffer

This point is particularly contentious and worrisome for both genders, but more importantly men. But how exactly does this occur?

There are many components of healthy sexual function. In men, for instance, the importance of consumption of moderate amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fat is critical for optimal synthesis of testosterone. This is why restriction of fat tends to lead to a corresponding drop in testosterone levels, in turn reducing your libido and ability to perform.

But that’s far from all. Another aspect of diminishing sexual function has to do with the large range of nutrient deficiencies you open up as a new convert to veganism. One of the most important of these is zinc, which can be found abundantly in meat such as beef, seafood and pork to name a few.

Vegans have an exponentially more difficult time meeting their daily requirements for this micro-mineral compared to their omnivorous friends.

Some meats- especially beef, for example, are excellent sources of the amino acid carnitine, which has several important functions in the human body but most notably can increase the efficiency of transporting fatty acids into the muscle cell to be used as fuel, and it can stimulate the production of new androgen receptors.

This is a massive one- since high androgen levels are somewhat useless unless there are sufficient binding sites (the receptors) for the hormone to interact with. There aren’t many things that can act like a trump card in this manner.

Then there is also the very real possibility of estrogen dominance stepping in, from simple ignorance about what it being consumed. Soy based products, a favorite of vegans everywhere, is a rich source of phytoestrogens; plant based compounds whose structure enables it to mimic some of the effects of natural estrogen in the body.

Eventually, excessive consumption of these phytoestrogens disrupt natural testosterone production and negatively affect your fertility. This is horrible news if you are a man.

Of course, as a vegan you can supplement with a high potency zinc pill, but its absorption is far from complete and quite likely to result in gastric distress.

As for the fat, your saturated fat intake is likely to suffer. Monounsaturated fats still do a decent job of assisting with testosterone production, but a combination of the two is ideal.

Argument #5: Your Energy Levels Plummet

You’ll never fully appreciate just how efficient your body was at producing energy until you become a vegan. Now, it isn’t directly related to consumption of meat that makes our body more capable of producing energy, but rather the associated nutrients found abundantly in animal-based foods.

Amongst the most important of these would have to be iron and vitamin B12. Not surprisingly, anemia extremely is common in vegetarians and vegans owing to the fact that deficiency of these two nutrients is prevalent.

Yes, you can obtain iron from plant-based sources, but it is a fact that non-heme based iron is less properly absorbed than heme based iron, and B12 is in scarce supply in plant-based foods.

What does this mean for the body? Lethargy. You will be unable to perform at high intensities since the oxygen-carrying potential of your blood will be restricted.

Diminished production of red blood cells in turn reduces the amount of hemoglobin and oxygen that is bound to it. So, you can kiss any high intensity activities you perform goodbye, and look forward to groggy mornings on a more regular basis.

Argument #6: Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the human body, playing important roles in bone metabolism and neuromuscular function to name a few.

Considering that many omnivorous people already find it difficult to consume the recommended 1000 mg of calcium daily, consider how much more difficult it must be for you, having eliminated the power hitters in cheese and milk.

There are undoubtedly tons of vegetables that contain natural calcium, but it is a much greater uphill battle meeting your intake.

weak bones

Down the line, you can look forward to osteoporosis – especially if you are female, along with an increased likelihood of experiencing fractures from falling.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in assisting with the absorption of calcium, and is often naturally occurring in animal-based foods with calcium.

Skin can synthesize vitamin D naturally, but if you are not fortunate enough to be living in an area with radiant sunshine, you will likely not meet your daily quota of this vitamin either.

Argument #7: You Always Feel Hungry

always hungry

Hunger may not seem like a really tissue considering the fact that you have at your disposal an infinite array of fruits and vegetables as a vegan, but there is fundamentally something different in the satiety brought on from consuming animal-based foods compared to high-fiber plant-based ones.

You can consume all of the fruits and veggies you want, but without the protein and fats found naturally in animal-based foods, something will always feel missing. This is why omnivorous diets have it best. By including both of these important food groups, the body’s ability to detect hunger and satiety functions much more efficiently. Added to the fact that proteins, fats and fiber in conjunction help to stabilize blood sugar levels much better than fiber alone, and what you have is a delayed emptying and subsequent absorption of glucose into the bloodstream which tempers hunger.

Argument #8: Body Composition

If you compare the body composition of a sedentary vegan, against a sedentary meat eater, some things become immediately obvious.

In the case of the vegan, their body is likely to appear slimmer, which may not seem like such a bad thing, except that this also reflects their lack of significant muscle mass as well.

All else being equal, the amount of muscle mass you carry around is a great indicator of overall health- your metabolic furnace will be on high gear, you are unlikely to have mobility issues, and your overall sense of wellbeing is better.

The meat eater, on the other hand, at first inspection may appear larger in stature; even pudgy. However, this pudginess is a reflection of two things generally, a greater amount of fat AND muscle mass.

It is a little known fact that people that are larger (even overweight) do possess more muscle mass than an average individual- since the body requires the recruitment of more muscle fibers to support its larger frame.

We are NOT advocating you get fat for the sake of a little added muscle (this would be dumb) but if you compared two people with similar BMIs, and the only thing separating them being whether they are vegan or a meat eater, sorry vegans, you lose.

If you eat beef this is an added bonus, since the amount of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) found in grass fed cattle is definitely going to contribute to bodyweight homeostasis.

In Summary

While being vegan might be the current “trendy” thing, you can actually do yourself a major disservice by going down that route.

What we have highlighted are just some of the ways your life may suck, but there are also many more. The human species might not have survived and evolved as much as it had if our ancestors decided to go hunting for fruits and veggies. Heck, the scarcity of regular food would have probably killed them all while those big juicy steaks go walking by.

Yes, you can have your ethical considerations when it comes to eating meat, but the fact is that it is simply a part of the natural order of things; part of a food chain.

We are apex predators in every way, and our diets should reflect the same. Do not make your higher thinking overanalyze one of the simplest decisions to make in life!

But in all seriousness, don’t take this vegan “bashing” too much to heart. Yes, your vegan lifestyle can be healthy if you go the extra mile (or several to compensate for glaring deficiencies), but compared to the healthy meat eater your diet style sucks.

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Mike Julom, ACE CPT

Mike is an ACE Certified PT and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He is an avid lover of all sports. Basketball, tennis, athletics, volleyball, soccer, squash, golf, table tennis, even darts, you name it! He's a very active CrossFit athlete and has been WOD'ing for over 7 years. With such an intense fitness regime, Mike has learned to take care of his body physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Mike founded ThisIsWhyImFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.

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