Is following a vegetarian diet healthier than a regular diet that includes meat?
I come from a largely vegetarian country (perhaps the only vegetarian country on this planet) and I can tell you from experience that a vegetarian-only diet largely leaves out a major food group: proteins.
People from my country have poor muscle development because their vegetarian diet lacks adequate protein. I would like to believe that a veg-only diet is better for your health, but unfortunately, your muscles need protein, and there are really no good enough sources of protein for vegetarians (that don't taste like cr*p).
I try to eat a diet with tons of vegetables and a generous helping of chicken and fish. Stay away from red meats and heavy carbs, though. They do nothing for your health.
I eat a vegan diet and have followed the studies done on the health of vegetarians. They have a 30% lower change of heart disease than meat eaters. A vegetarian's cholesterol is usually lower, because cholesterol is produced in the liver of animals which are eventually consumed by people.
Getting enough protein is not a problem for vegetarians. Vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts contain ample amounts of protein. In fact, some recent studies have shown that protein from soya has many health advantages over protein from meat.
Vitamin B12 is an issue for vegans because it comes from animals. There are few natural sources for B12 and vegans usually use supplements to add it to their diets.
Vegans would like to tell you that it is, but this is usually the effect of groupthink.
They'll quote studies that talk about how vegans have X% less incidence of one disease or another but the only problem is that the studies that produce their results are ALWAYS comparing the vegan diet to a meat-diet which sources the meat from conventional grain-fed, feedlot cattle! Cows are not designed to eat grain!
They don't process it properly and it completely changes the nutritional properties of the muscle and fat. The intestines of the cows also bloat with e. coli when fed grain which is not the case when cattle are fed on pasture. Conventional beef is nearly devoid of conjugated linoleic acid (a super-healthy compound found naturally in high concentrations almost exclusively in grass-fed beef) and is stuffed full of the inflamatory Omega-6 fats. This because grains are loaded with Omega-6 fats so that's what the meat ends up being built from.
Grass-fed beef is one one of the most nutrient-dense foods that man can eat. The only thing greater being real (non pasteurized) butter from cows eating on fast-growing spring pasture.
Eating a vegan diet necessitates the consumption of grains which boost blood sugar and cause the body to become insulin resistant as do all carbs. It necessitates the consumption of legumes such as soy, beans, lentils, etc which are loaded with anti-nutrients which make it HARDER for the body to absorb what it needs.
Unfermented soy is particularly dangerous because it has extremely high concentrations of phyto-estrogen substances that impact the body similar to taking hormones. Asian women used to "get back at their husbands" by preparing more and more foods from soy for the week in order to destroy their husband's libido. Soy is a pox and should never be eaten.
Try eating a vegan diet without eating (un)healthy whole grains and legumes. It can't realistically be done. Search for info on the Paleo Diet. Man was designed to eat that way and deviating from it is a recipe for a public health disaster.
Following a vegetarian diet, as long as one is educated properly about it, can be healthier and more beneficial to a person's overall health. I see it frequently--people becoming vegetarians, claiming that they are healthier for it; but I see them loading up on pasta, chips, and other processed garbage, and still not eating a diet high in fruit, vegetables, unprocessed and non-GMO grains, lentils, beans, nuts, and seeds....If it is not properly followed, a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle can harm one's health.
I, for one, am almost completely vegan, but I make sure I find other ways to get my B12, zinc, and iodine; these are very common deficiencies seen in vegans and vegetarians who may actually eat a pretty balanced diet.
It is good to get these nutrients, either by supplementation or by use of nutritional yeast in foods. There are also some herbs that secretly contain the very important vitamin B12. It is a common misconception that this vitamin is only in red meat - you just have to do a little research, is all.
Bacteria from the soil of some plants consumed by herbivorous animals that people eat contain B12, but we wash our produce so much now, that this is essentially lost. The best bet for Vegetarian/ Vegan people is to find an organic/natural supplement and to take one about every other day or so with meals.
B12 is the one water soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver for many years, which is why it sometimes takes a while for vegans/vegetarians to show deficiency. (we don't want to get to deficiency, because that will cause us problems and could be deadly) This is why you do not need it every day.
People today are going overkill on supplements, which makes me believe that it could be doing more harm than good; thus, it is important to listen to your body as well as to take in a healthy balanced diet for optimal health.
Nutritional Science - Dietetics B.S. Candidate, Dec., 2012
Naturopathic Medical Student Candidate, 2013
Well for one thing, 'vegetarian' just denotes that the meat is removed. It can still easily be a 'SAD' (standard American Diet) and removing the meat will do diddly to improve health. You need to be more specific on what is consumed.
Personally I believe that a veggie diet, is healthier then a diet with meat included. Reason being is that a lot of meats...whether it is pork, beef, lamb etc... Supplies a good amount of important vitamins, including iron, needed for optimum health. But many tend also to forget that meat eaten too many times per week, can be unhealthy for us. And in addition can cause illnesses such as Cancer and Heart Disease at a much faster rate. Vegetables offer just as many vitamins and other important minerals and without all of the processing that meat is often subject to. I know a Gastroenterologist or two and their individual diets consist of nothing but vegetables on a daily basis, including dinner and they are as healthy as a horse.
I subscribe to Micheal Pollan idea presented in his book "In the Defense of Food". He summarized it in the following sentence: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." A little bit of meat such as poultry is perfectly fine, as long as each meal has a good portion of vegetables.
A person who eats meat can be healthier than a vegetarian. And a vegetarian can be healthier than a meat-eater. It can go both ways. It is not that plants or meat is the problem. It is the unbalanced consumption of the various macronutrients that is the problem. The macronutrients being carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
For example, a vegetarians that eats a lot of white bread, soda, sugar, pasta (but no meat) will be less healthy than a meat-eater that eats a balance of plants and animals, but limited refined carbohydrates.
In my opinion, sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates are much more dangerous than eating meat.
But if you do become a 100% vegetarian, make sure you get enough B12 (which most people get from meat) and enough omega-3 (which most people get from fish). Although, they can be found in small quantities in a few non-animal sources, it may not be enough. Supplement these if necessary. Make sure you do not over do the high-glycemic carbohydrate consumption such as bread and pasta to compensate for the removal of meat protein.
I eat a balance of vegetables and fruits, seafood (as in fish and shrimp), and meats (mainly chicken and turkey). And eggs. And I take omega-3 and B vitamins.
If it is a balanced vegetarian diet that includes plenty of leafy greens, fruits, grains and legumes, then yes. On average, vegetarians live longer than omnivores, and there are many arguments out there that support the idea of food as medicine. Ruling out meat - as long as you eat healthy foods and don't replace your meat consumption with highly processed soy meats or junk food - drastically reduces your chances of developing heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and a number of other health maladies. Contrary to popular belief, a person on a well balanced vegetarian diet has no issues regarding protein deficiency or iron deficiency. The only concern is Vitamin b-12, which can be easily remedied with a daily supplement.
As a Natural Health Practitioner I personally believe that each person is different and that you have to find what best works for your body type, taking into account your blood group, as well as whether your body is a protein or carbohydrate type (this according to Dr. Mercola).
An indication is whether your blood sugar fluctuates drastically during the day, then you need to eat more often, and also need to combine fruits with nuts to get rid of the hunger pangs!
It is also important that the source of your food be as natural and unprocessed as possible, whether it includes meat or not. In general any factory meat is not good for you, period! Neither is vegetables or fruit grown in depleted nutrient deficient soils, so organic and bio-diverse food is much, much better!
White meats and fish (free range or wild) are usually better choices, as red meats create acid in the body. If your system's alkalinity is already out of balance, even one meal a week with red meat will make you feel bloated, unless you are an O blood type that has adequate acid to deal with it's digestion!
A good balance (and this is the secret) is 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming, if you're slightly out of balance, and if you're pretty healthy, 60/40!
The most important underlying factors...NO PROCESSED FOODS! (Ok, chocolate every now and then!) and free-range and organic is absolutely vital.
You are what you eat. If you consistently eat foods from nutrient deficient sources (mass farming practices) you WILL need supplements.
And it also doesn't help if your digestive system is not functioning properly, then you simply will not absorb properly, so this is paramount. Sorting the causes of imbalances usually fixes the problems!
Read and listen to advice, but then ultimately listen to your own body and nourish it properly!
by abentley 7 years ago
I had never had non-vegeterian diet as my parents were vegeterian. So, I would like to ask here that whether eating non-vegetarian diet would be okay for me or would it harm my digestive system any ways.
by Andrea Lawrence 4 years ago
What would you consider the best benefits of a vegetarian diet?
by cyclrmom 5 years ago
Why do vegetarians and vegans condemn people who eat meat?We do not think they are crazy or speak poorly of them who can't stomach the thought of sushi, or even bacon or eggs for breakfast.
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