Some people believe veganism is the future and that it’s inevitable. Will the vegan diet eventually become the most popular diet in the world? Whether it’s due to animal products becoming too expensive or just no longer being available, it’s certainly a possibility. In this podcast, I’m going to address that potential future and why I don’t think the vegan diet will become more popular any time soon.
I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based content over the years on just about everything you can imagine related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy.
I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their lives.
That doesn’t mean you should blindly swallow everything I say, though, because let’s face it—nobody is always right about everything. And especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.
This is why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.
Sometimes I can’t get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion.
That gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes: publicly addressing things people disagree with me on and sharing my perspective.
Think of it like a spicier version of a Q&A.
So, here’s what I’m doing:
Every couple of weeks, I’m asking my Instagram followers what they disagree with me on, and then picking the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.
And in this episode, I’ll be tackling the following . . .
- A vegan diet will (and should) become the dominant diet in the world.
0:00 – Find the Perfect Strength Training Program for You: www.muscleforlife.show/trainingquiz
1:48 – What are your thoughts on vegan eating?
3:04 – Will veganism become the dominant diet?
Mentioned on the Show:
Find the Perfect Strength Training Program for You in Just 60 Seconds: http://www.muscleforlife.show/trainingquiz
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi. Hi. Hi. I’m Mike Matthews. This is Muscle For Life. Thank you for joining me today for another installment of Says You, where I address something that someone disagrees with me on. So what I do is over on Instagram at most for Life Fitness. I post every couple of months and ask people to share with.
Things that they disagree with me on in the comments and only post it once every couple of months cause I get quite a lot of disagreements. And then I pick and choose ones that I think are interesting and that will be informative for you, the listener.
And come over here in the podcast and address the contentions and in today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about vegan dieting and the claim that a vegan diet will and should become the dominant diet in the world. Before we sink our teeth into it, have you ever wondered what strength training split you should follow, what rep ranges you should work in, How many sets you should do per workout or per week?
I created a free 62nd training quiz that will answer those questions for you and others, including how frequently you should train each major muscle group, which exercises you should do, what supplements you should consider which ones are at least worth taking. And more to take this quiz and to get your free personalized training plan, go to muscle for.
Dot show Muscle forr life.show/training quiz, answer the questions and learn exactly what to do in the gym to gain more muscle and. Okay, let me start by sharing my position on vegan eating. And this position hasn’t changed much in the last few years just because the weight of the evidence has not changed in the last few years.
So my position four years now has been that I agree that eating a lot of plant foods is very good for you and it is something we should all. Doing. We should all be eating a couple of servings of fruit every day, four to six servings of vegetables every day. I think it’s smart to get in a serving or so of whole grains every day.
We can add seeds, we could add like umes, not that those are as necessary. I would say that those are optional, but they’re also great sources of nutrition and good sources of carbohydrates and fat. And that’s why for many years now, I have been promoting a plant centric diet where you eat a lot of plant foods where the majority of your calories actually come from plant foods, but not all of them.
And why not all of them? Because when you transition to full, Plant based dieting, you run into some challenges, and I’m gonna use that to segue into directly addressing the claim I want to discuss in this episode, which is that veganism will become and should become the dominant diets in the world.
Now, I actually do think that this might happen in the next, oh, I don’t know, 10, 20 years, but. Through coercion, not willing adoption. That is us. Little people might be forced to stop eating animal foods because they are simply too expensive or just not available anymore. And what will be available for us pledges will not just be plant foods, but.
Bugs. We are going to eat the bugs and like it, and something tells me, I, I don’t know why, but I just have a premonition that people in power are not gonna have to play by the same rules that they will be able to eat all of the steak they want so long as they sing from the same hym sheet as.
Peers, so to speak. And the same thing goes for climate restrictions that we all know are coming, at least for us pros, not for our masters. There are open discussions about using technology to track our individual carbon footprints and regulate our ability to do things based on our carbon credits that we have, that we as individuals can only be responsible for so much.
Carbon pollution per month, for example, and that we have to regulate our activities based on that allotment. And if that sounds ridiculous, dystopian conspiracy theory to you? No, the technology is being openly. Discussed, it’s being developed right now. I was reading about it, I don’t remember the publication maybe four weeks ago.
I was reading about the technological underpinning of that system, and I believe MasterCard is one of the sponsors. MasterCard was involved in some. Part of it, it was regarding payment and being able to track the carbon footprint of things that people buy. Anyway, it is coming and rich and powerful control freaks everywhere.
Simply cannot wait to bring it online and. I actually will be surprised if we don’t have climate lockdowns in the next two to three years. Probably in somewhere in Europe, maybe the UK, although they might be moving in the other direction. Hard to really know. Canada would be an obvious candidate. Australia obvious candidate.
Similar to the Covid Lockdowns, but for reasons related to climate change. I do think that is coming as. But anyway, this does not have anything to do with vegan dieting, although actually the vegan diet is often sold on the grounds of being better for the climate. But that is a tenuous connection. So I will get back on track here and say that if.
Veganism is not forced on us. I don’t think it is ever going to become the dominant diet. In the world, definitely not. But even in the western world, if maybe everything many vegans say about veganism were true, then maybe it could become far more popular than it currently is. But the vegan diet is more limited.
Then most vegans would have you believe, or then they even believe or understand themselves. So first, a vegan diet simply does not provide adequate amounts of many different vitamins and minerals like vitamin b12. Research shows that up to 80% of people who eat a plant based diet are deficient in vitamin.
B12 and that is bad news because studies show that a vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with an increased risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other problems, and vitamin B12 is not the only problem. With vegan dieting, vegans also tend to be deficient or insufficient in creatine.
Toine, calcium, selenium, vitamin D three, vitamin A, iodine, essential fatty acids, iron and zinc, and the list of problems that insufficiencies and deficiencies and all of those nutrients can cause is very long. It might be. 10 minutes straight of just reading bullet points. And the problem here is very hard to address even if you are a conscientious vegan, because some of those substances are basically impossible to get from plants like creatine, for example.
And others are in plants, but they are not very bioavailable. And what does that mean? While bioavailability is the proportion of a substance. Enters your blood when introduced into your body. So when you eat something, how much of it actually makes it to your blood, where your body can do something with it?
So protein, for example, most plant protein score between 60 to 80% digestibility, meaning for every 10 grams of plant protein you eat, your body will only be able to use six to eight grams, whereas animal based proteins routinely score. Above 90%, 90 to 95%, some of them even higher. And that is especially relevant to those of us who are trying to improve our body composition because eating protein is not enough.
Of course, we need to eat protein that is rich in essential amino acids, which are the amino acids that are body needs from our diet, because it cannot synthesize. And our body has to be able to digest and absorb those essential amino acids effectively. And so what many informed vegans try to do to address the nutritional inadequacies and the protein problem is.
Supplement because again, even if you micromanage your diet and you pick very specific foods to provide very specific amounts of very specific nutrients, you are still going to have holes in your vegan diet, nutritional holes, and the protein is going to be an issue as well. Because you are going to have to eat a lot more protein, a lot more plant protein just to get enough essential amino acids than animal protein.
And often that plant protein comes with carbs and fat, which can make it hard or impossible to keep your calories where. You want them to be, especially if you are cutting or if you are relatively lean and you are maintaining and it’s tricky and so supplementation can work fine. On the protein front, it is probably not optimal to eat a hundred.
Plus grams of protein from powder every day, but I suppose you can. It is not necessarily bad for your health if your diet is well calibrated around that, so to speak. But the nutritional gap is more of a problem because there is a difference between the nutrients in food and the nutrients in a multivitamin supplement.
A number of studies show that in some cases, supplementation is. As effective at providing our body with what it needs, then getting those nutrients from foods. Now a good multivitamin is an insurance policy of sorts. I think it does make sense to take, even if you eat a well-balanced obs diet, because there are certain nutrients that you are probably not getting enough of in your.
For optimal health and performance. Vitamin D, for example, vitamin K is another example. Vitamin B12 is even an issue with some Omnis dieters. And then there are a number of nutrients that your body can benefit from in higher doses than you can realistically get from. But I would never pitch a multivitamin as a replacement for nutritious food.
I would never tell somebody that they don’t need to eat four to six servings of vegetables per day, including one to two servings of dark leafy greens, ideally a variety of vegetables for those extra servings, variety of colorful vegetables. You don’t need to do that. Just take my multivitamin because it has all of the same nutrients that your body needs.
Because they’re not the same. In many cases, it is best to get nutrition from food and not from supplements. Supplements are meant to be supplementary by definition, and so if we apply that to the vegan diet, it is not ideal that you would have to supplement to get enough of. Rather long list of nutrients.
It’s not just a couple of things. If it were just creatine and maybe iron and zinc, maybe that wouldn’t matter, but it’s not. It is 10 to 15 different nutrients, and that applies to plant protein as well. You can mix and match. Different sources of plant protein to create a more robust amino acid profile.
And that would be a smart thing to do. But depending on what you end up with, it might not be nearly as effective at getting amino acids. And again, the key amino acids, the essential amino acids. Into your blood so your body can use them. For example, in one study, researchers used a few different plant proteins.
They created blends of, let’s see, P protein, pumpkin protein, sunflower protein, and coconut proteins. So they took those sources and they created a few different mixtures, combinations of them. To standardize the amount of leucine and essential amino acids per serving. So there are 2.6 grams of leucine per serving here, and 12 grams of essential amino acids per serving.
And in the first plant blend that required 34 grams of protein. The second plant blend here, 33 grams, the third plant blend 34 grams. And the control. Protein that they wanted to test those against was WHE protein. And to get 2.6 grams of losing from weigh as well as 12 grams of essential amino acids, you need just 24 grams of WHE protein.
And so those were the proteins that they used in the study, and what they found is those plant proteins resulted in 30 to 40% lower circulating essential acid availability when compared. The WHE protein, so again, you had 34 grams of total protein to get to just on paper, what weigh provides in leucine and total essential amino acids compared to just 24 grams of weigh.
So you needed more material to, on paper, create something that was equal, but then the way drastically outperformed each of those plant protein blends in bottom line results, what matters most, which of course is essential immuno acids in your blood. Now, another problem with making the vegan diet.
Popular with selling it, making it the dominant diet in the world is many people don’t like it because it’s inconvenient. It can be expensive. Many people don’t enjoy it, and research shows that around 84% of people who start the vegan diet. Abandon it. And those are some of the reasons that they cite.
And so this is a marketing problem. The reasons often given by vegans to join them, it’s kinder to animals. It’s better for the environment. It’s better for your health, are simply not adequate to get most people to want to do it. And to get most people who do try to do it, to stick with it. Now you can say that it’s going to.
Easier and more enjoyable to follow a plant-based diet as more and more products get developed that are similar to their animal derived counterparts. But I don’t think that’s going to solve the issue because many people like meat and you can tell the difference between meat and a plant alternative.
And not to go off on a tangent on some of these plant-based meat alternatives. I would argue that just eating some meat is probably better for you. When you look at how highly processed some of these plant alternatives to meat are, and you look at some of the ingredients that go into these products, I myself would not eat them regularly.
Now, one other practical problem with vegan dieting is for many people it is a restrictive diet. It means giving up a lot of stuff that they. To eat and not finding any satisfying alternatives. At best. Maybe some mediocre compromises and research shows conclusively that the more restrictive a diet is, the less sustainable it is.
People generally do not do well with restric. Diets. They can only do it for so long. This, of course, is one of the reasons why flexible dieting has become so popular and why it has worked so well for so many people. It does not restrict what you can eat. It just has you work within the confines of energy balance and macronutrient balance, it is a lot more about watching how much.
Eat versus what you eat specifically. Now, of course, if you are going to do flexible dieting correctly, you are going to get most of your calories from nutritious, relatively unprocessed foods. And while you could say that sounds restrictive, it’s not inu actuality because there are so many different foods that check those boxes.
And so all it really means is you can’t try to survive off of whe protein shakes. Pop Tarts and candy. You gotta eat some fruits, you gotta eat some vegetables. You probably should eat some nuts or some oil and some nutritious sources of protein, some grains, and if you want to throw in a Pop Tart or two, if you wanna throw in some candy.
You can make that work. And so unless the masses are forced to follow a vegan diet, I don’t think it’s going to become much more popular than it is right now. I could see it declining in popularity actually, over the next 10 years, and that’s mostly because it requires a lot of discipline. And again, it can be more expensive than an Omnis diet and it is less enjoyable for most people.
Now, I want to close though, with something we can all learn from vegans, and that is. We should all be eating a lot of plant foods. I know I’ve said this a number of times, but I’m just going to close with it. I am all for plant centric eating plants, provide the majority of the vitamins, the minerals, the fiber, the phytonutrients that improve our health, improve our wellbeing, and reduce our risk of just about every disease that you can think of.
The weight of these scientific evidence is abundantly clear if you want to be healthy. For as long as possible, you want to eat more plant foods, not less, but that doesn’t mean that you have to only eat plant foods. I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes.
And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have ideas or suggestions or.
Feedback to share. Shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f or life.com and let me know what I could do better or just what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future. I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.