Well Being

Vegetarianism Might Not Be As Healthy As We Were Lead To Believe

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vegetarianUh oh, vegetarians, your meat-free lifestyle could be less healthy than you think.

As a certified flip flopper between strict vegetarianism and a beast-like carnivorous diet, I was under the impression that being a vegetarian was simply healthier. Perhaps I was wrong. New research from the Medical University of Graz, Austria suggests that plant based diets are linked to poorer health and quality of life in a number of ways. In order to come to this counterintuitive conclusion, the researchers surveyed both vegetarians and meat eaters, examining their demographic characteristics, lifestyle differences and dietary habits. Per the researchers themselves:

“Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment.”

According to a CBS Atlanta report on the study, here are some of the health problems associated with vegetarianism:

  • Double the risk of allergies
  • More likely to suffer from depression or anxiety
  • Higher levels of impairment from chronic disease
  • 50% increase in cancer risk
  • 50% increase in heart attack risk

The research isn't totally anti-vegetarian diet. They did find that vegetarians are healthier in a number of ways:

  • Lower BMIs
  • More active
  • Higher socioeconomic status
  • Less likely to consume alcohol

Since the conclusions of this particular study negates previous data showing the link between the consumption of red meat in particular and health problems, the scientists behind this study say that further research is needed to confirm their findings.

I'd be more “in your face, vegetarians. you thought you were sooo healthy,” but chronic disease and depression aren't something I want to joke about. Choosing whether or not one eats a vegetarian diet is an entirely personal choice. Though the decision to forgo meat is sometimes fueled by the perceived health benefits, it's often an ethical choice. Should further research confirm these negative health implications associated with vegetarianism, those who are meat-free for moral reasons will likely not be dissuaded by possible risks. Hopefully medical advances will be able to improve everyone's quality of life, regardless of their meat intake.

via The Daily Mail//Image via Shutterstock

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