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Benefits and Drawbacks of Vegetarian Diet

Benefits of Vegetarian Diet

  • We’re all familiar with the benefits of a diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables, but it’s important to look at the drawbacks of a diet containing only fruits and veggies
  • One of the biggest benefits of vegetarian diets is that they often include little saturated fat because they cut out meat
  • Unbelievably, there is such a thing as a high protein vegetarian diet, and that option might be the best for you

If you have ever considered trying a vegetarian diet, you’ll find plenty of excellent reasons why you should. Whether you want to improve your health or are concerned about the welfare of slaughtered animals, being a vegetarian can make you feel better inside and out. However, there are some drawbacks of vegetarian diet menus that might make you want to reconsider or, at least, plan your transition more carefully.

Vegetarian Diet Explained

Before examining the drawbacks and benefits of vegetarian diet choices, we first need to examine what it means to be a vegetarian. Today, there are a number of acceptable options to consider depending on just how much you are willing to change about your existing diet.

If you want to be a full-fledged vegetarian, you eat no meat of any kind, including fish. You would also cut out dairy products and because these are made from animals. However, if you’re not willing to go that far, you can choose alternatives. For example, the lacto-ovo vegetarians are fine with consuming dairy and egg products but maintain a strict no-meat diet. You could also choose to eat one and not the other. Another choice is to be a semi-vegetarian which means you stay away from meat products but will indulge in the occasional helping of fish or poultry for protein purposes.

The strictest form of vegetarianism is the vegan diet. If you are vegan, you do not eat anything made from or by animals, including marshmallows, gelatin, and honey.

The Benefits of Vegetarian Diet

Looking solely at the affects on health, vegetarian diets do seem to have some positive benefits. Because most vegetarians cut out or significantly reduce their intake of animal products, they usually consume less saturated fat and cholesterol than do non-vegetarians. Also, because of the slim offerings, most vegetarians do not eat fast food which is one of the worst types of unhealthy foods.

Other research has shown that people who are vegetarians seem to have a reduced risk of becoming obese, of having heart disease or high blood pressure, and of contracting Type II diabetes.

The Drawbacks of Vegetarian Diet

While there are benefits to your health, there can also be risks. Remember that to function properly your body needs certain type of vitamins and nutrients daily. Any time you restrict your diet in some way you make it harder for your body to get what it needs. With a vegetarian diet, for example, you may not be getting all of the protein you need. Plus, you need protein sources rich in amino acids and that’s something you can’t get from plant products. However, soy protein can be a good alternative.

Many vegetarians do not get enough B-12 either. That’s because this vitamin is only found naturally in animal products. Some foods, such as cereals, have been fortified with B-12 but you may need to take a supplement. Many vegans and vegetarians also suffer from low levels of calcium, Vitamin D, and iron.

If you are serious about becoming a vegetarian and want to avoid these risks, plan your diet carefully, consult your physician, and look for products fortified with the nutrients you need to be healthy.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

10 Responses to “Benefits and Drawbacks of Vegetarian Diet”

  1. 1
    Ronald Says:
    Eating meat is in fact not murder. The definition of murder is a humnan killing another human. I personally think that people who think that way tend to lean a bit more to the extremeist side than others. All-in-All, both diets are good and bad at the same time. Vegetarians may be healthier a way and omnivores may be healthier in a way. I have tried both diets....mostly because I'm naturally curious. On my vegetarian diet, I slimed down and felt healthier. Problem was I had less energy and calcium was in fact a problem. My omnivore diet made me feel fat and alwaysm made me worry about diabbetis and heart disease. But I hadf insane amounts of energy each day and it was ALOT easier to balance. My suggestion? Infuse them both into your own form of diet. Comments like "killing animals is wrong" and "vegetarian diets are stupid" are pointless. Most of the major religions around the world actually take pride in eating meat because they believe that god put them there for many reasons and nurishing humans is one of them. If you just so happen to be atheist or just don't want to hear about religion, Then please tell me one U.S president, Japanese emperor, Russian dictator/Ruler, English Parliment participator, etc. That has been vegetarian? Thinking down on people bewcause of they're diet is insulting not only that person, but also they're family because, more than likely, that is how they were taught as a child. Example: Michelle, both of your comments offended me because I am a meat eater. I've tried both roads and I feel the meat diet is many time better than the vegetarian diet. What if I said the Vegetarian/Vegan diet contributes to Global Climate Change and it will kill us all. Doesen't feel good does it? (Sorry if my little rant was long and offended someone. Just sharing my experience)
  2. 2
    Ronald Says:
    definition of murder "unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being" I think you might want to revise your comment
  3. 3
    Michelle Says:
  4. 4
    Michelle Says:
    meat is cruel, disgusting and complete animal abuse. It is murder! To kill an innocent animal is a disgusting barbaric foul thing to do and it should be outlawed! How can anyone justify killing animals!!!!!
  5. 5
    Kay Says:
    Meat is good, meat is not bad for you. The key to any diet is balance, people forget that, even vegans. Eat meat people, it's not "murder" they'll still slaughter just as many animals even if you don't eat meat.
  6. 6
    danakscully64 Says:
    "Many vegans and vegetarians also suffer from low levels of calcium, Vitamin D, and iron." That's not true, I've been studying nutrition for over 4 years. Partially in a school setting, a lot on my own. What are these "mystery" vitamins and nutrients? And why does everyone worry about a vegetarian diet? Most omnis don't get their fruits and veggies. Most omnis are overweight, most vegetarians are not. Vegetarians also live an average of 7 years longer and have a 50% less chance of heart disease. Chicken: "tryptophan, vitamin b3, protein, selenium, B6, and phosphorus" Asparagus: "molybdenum, folate, fiber, tryptophan, manganese, iron, protein, phosphorus, copper, B1, and potassium." Asparagus sounds more nutrient dense.
  7. 7
    danakscully64 Says:
    Don't trust someone who tells you it's a bad idea, there are WAY more pros than cons. The only con I can think of is stupid comments from meat eaters. Seriously. I've been a vegetarian for 5 years and my health has improved tremendously. My blood work from last summer came back perfect, my doctor said it was one of the best he's ever seen. I'm leaner and becoming a vegetarian has made me immune system work hard for me :) I have yet to get the cold or flu once in 5 years, I used to get it at least once a year. I also have learned of foods I never would have tried before that are amazing. If you're eating a balanced diet, you don't need to supplement. I don't know who started that rumor, but it's ridiculous. Especially considering almost all omnivores don't get their daily nutrients. I know I didn't back in the day, I ate lots of deep fried chicken, ribs, and fries. I never had a salad without deep fried croutons, cheese, bacon, and heavy dressing. Rarely ate enough plant food and grains. Your post in from August, hope you see this :)
  8. 8
    Daniel Says:
    I am thinking about becoming vegetarian. However I have a friend in nursing school who keeps telling me that it is a bad idea because of all of the health drawbacks. But I can only find good things about vegetarian diet. Except for maybe sometimes needing an extra supplement. Does anyone have anything to say about that? Have you guys ever had any issues?
  9. 9
    Stacey T Says:
    I disagree with Miriam. You don't need to supplements to curve your red meat craving. The craving is all in your head...there are additives in meat that can make it addicting. If you have a deficiency in protein, there are other options that aren't meat. My husband and I are not on any kind of supplements and ALL of our levels are within normal range. We get our blood drawn regularly to make sure. It's a matter of being healthy and having true knowledge and commitment to this wonderful lifestyle change. My husband and I have only been vegans since October of 2008 and have never once craved any kind of meat product since.
  10. 10
    Mariam Says:
    You also need to make sure that you supplement the vitamins and minerals you find in meat in your vegan diet. Otherwise you may find yourself craving read meat.