Advantages And Disadvantages Of Vegetarian Food
For many people out there, vegetarianism is somewhat of an ambiguous concept. Indeed, around the word “vegetarianism (being a vegetarian)” there is plenty of myths, negativity, aggressive propaganda, and even jokes.
However, when you are considering becoming a vegetarian, you should know what are the consequences. You should know their advantages & disadvantages properly. People choose to become vegetarian for a lot of reasons and among them the main reason is to have healthy food over carnivorous food. But, is it good to consume only vegetarian foods?
Well, we are going to discuss this in detail in our article below. Let’s have a look at the details to know more about the pros and cons of being a vegetarian.
What Does It Mean By Vegetarian Foods?
Vegetarianism is mainly consuming foods that are mostly plant-based and avoiding animal products. Unlike a carnivore, a vegetarian person eats food that is received from a source that does not hurt an animal. Thus, vegetarian foods are those foods that come from a cruelty-free source.
There are different types of vegetarianism. These are the types
1. Pesco-Vegetarianism or Quasi-Vegetarianism- This type rejects meat but eats dairy products, fish, and also eggs.
2. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – This type rejects meat, fish, poultry, and also seafood, however, eats eggs and dairy products
3. Lacto-Vegetarian – This type rejects meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and also seafood, but eats dairy products
4. Veganism- This type completely rejects animal products such as poultry, meat, seafood, fish, eggs, dairy products, and even honey.
Key Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet
Being a vegan by only having Plant foods fully provides the body with valuable substances – such as vitamins C & E, folic acid, fiber, magnesium, etc. A vegan person can easily get digestible proteins from legumes, and unsaturated fats from seeds & nuts. So, indeed, plant-based nutrients are healthy foods.
Here are a few noteworthy benefits of eating veg foods.
The abundance of fiber normalizes the intestinal microflora necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive tract. So, when you start having plant-based foods, you will notice better digestion than carnivorous foods.
Normalization of Metabolism
A diet without animal proteins and fats prevents the development of obesity and diabetes. It also supports your cardiovascular system better when you start having only veg foods. Eating plant-based foods lowers bad cholesterol levels, preventing strokes and heart attacks as well.
Improve Skin Condition
Plant-based foods help you improve your skin condition. Vitamins contained in vegetables and fruits increase skin elasticity and prevent the formation of acne. Moreover, with plant-based foods, you get better digestion and as a result, you get better skin. Excluding meat food, a person protects his body from toxins that cause early aging.
Better Eye Health
Plant foods are rich in substances that are useful for vision which is carotene and lutein. So, when you start eating plant-based foods, your eye health gets improved.
Reduce The Chance of Type 2 Diabetes
The risks of type 2 diabetes increase due to many reasons like old age, obesity & chronic overeating, alcohol consumption, smoking, high BP, sedentary lifestyle, etc.
Since a vegetarian diet contributes to the maintenance of normal BMI and weight loss in obesity, this means that the main risk of developing diabetes is also reduced when you start having only plant-based healthy foods over carnivorous foods.
Reduce The Chance Of Cancer
Vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants that prevent the growth of cancer cells. An important point is that only the classic vegetarian diet brings benefits. It means you should avoid having pastries, sweets, and packaged products to prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Possible Side Effects Of The Vegetarian Diet
An analysis of studies has shown that a well-planned veg diet is healthy, meets the body’s nutritional needs, and can be effective in preventing and treating certain diseases. However, restrictions on the consumption of a particular food can lead to consequences:
For example, a decrease in the concentration of iron in the blood serum indicates the possible development of iron deficiency and you could end up suffering from anemia.
So, here are the possible side effects of having only veg foods…
Australian researchers have found that vegetarians are less optimistic about the future than meat eaters. What’s more, they were 18% more likely to report depression, and 28% more likely to suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. A separate German study confirms that vegetarians are 15% more likely to be depressed and twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders.
Vegetarians are often considered at risk for zinc deficiency. Grains, seeds, and legumes contain phytates (a substance that reduces the availability of nutrients in the diet). They “bind” zinc and thereby reduce its bioavailability.
Lack of iodine can cause various problems in a woman’s health, as well as can cause infertility – miscarriage, and stillbirth. Thus, if you are already suffering from iodine deficiency, you shouldn’t live on only plant-based foods.
Animal proteins have an advantage over vegetable proteins in two respects: absorption by the body and set amino acids. Various plant proteins lack certain essential amino acids. Thus, eating only plant-based foods can lead to protein deficiency in your body.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vegans and vegetarians had the lowest average vitamin D intake (0.88 mcg/day versus an adult norm of 15 mcg/day).
When calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus from food and supplements aren’t absorbed to maintain proper levels in the blood, the body begins to release calcium from the bones into the blood.
Simply put, the body begins to sacrifice bones and your body starts having vitamin D deficiency.
Due to the lack of vitamin D in vegetarians, there may be a lack of calcium and a violation of calcium-phosphorus metabolism. Individuals who have been on a vegetarian diet for a long time may also have reduced protein metabolism.
Other Vitamin Deficiency
When you follow a typical veg diet, your body starts lacking various necessary nutrients. A few of them are mentioned below. Let’s have a look
Vegans often seem to get B1 (Thiamine) deficiency which ultimately leads to the following
- Decreased appetite, constipation, nausea, etc.
- The cardiovascular system gets affected and the person starts experiencing tachycardia, shortness of breath, muffled tones, pain in the heart, etc.
- The nervous system also gets affected and the person starts experiencing headaches, memory loss issues, irritability, peripheral polyneuritis, paresis, and even paralysis
Vegans often seem to get B2 (riboflavin) deficiency which ultimately leads to the following
- Damage to the mucous membrane of the lips with desquamation of the epithelium and cracks
- Stomatitis and glossitis
- Conjunctivitis, lacrimation, photophobia, decreased vision in kids- growth & development retardation
- Eczema-like skin lesions
Vegans often seem to get B6 (Pyridoxine) deficiency which ultimately leads to the following
- Peripheral neuritis
- Angular stomatitis & glossitis
- Mental impairment
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- In kids with congenital hypovitaminosis B6, growth retardation, low body weight, decreased resistance to infection, development of microcytic hypochromic anemia, etc.
Vegans often seem to get B12 (Cyanocobalamin) deficiency which ultimately leads to the following
- Decreased appetite
- Megalocytic hyperchromic anemia
- Achilia, neurological symptoms ( loss of sensation and polyneuritis)
Many vegetarians choose to avoid eating meat because they’re dead against the cruel treatment and also killing of other animals. So, it is an ethical choice.
On the other hand, some of them are worried about the increasingly damaging effect that meat eating has on our environment.
No matter if you are choosing vegetarianism because of your ethical point of view or environmental concern, it has both advantages and disadvantages. So, whether to become a vegetarian or not entirely depends on you.
Hope we could help you with the right information!