In the current world, there is a high number of people who are opting for a vegetarian diet – Is Vegetarian Diet Healthier than Meat? So what is the craze in a vegetarian diet and, what does it exactly mean? A vegetarian diet does not include meat, poultry, or fish but, the diet consists of nutrients that you get from plants it includes vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes.
Is Vegetarian Diet Healthier than Meat
There are several reasons why more and more people now prefer the vegetarian diet. One of the reasons is due to the health benefits but, several other reasons and benefits include the following:
- It is Healthy
- Reduces weight
According to a study carried out in 2016, it concluded that switching to a vegetarian diet may help reduce weight in the short term. However, more research is required for a prolonged vegetarian diet.
- Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Cancer is the world’s leading cause of death. A research carried out on nearly 70,000 people found out that cancer was less prevalent in vegetarians compared to people who ate meat. A vegetarian helps to reduce your risk of getting cancer.
- Lower Risk of Diabetes
People who take a vegetarian diet may have a lower risk of getting type II diabetes. This is due to the high intake of legumes, vegetables, and nuts and less intake of unhealthy fats.
- Heart Health
A study conducted in 2014 in India found that having a vegetarian diet decreased cardiovascular diseases. This is from less intake of unhealthy fats.
- Lower Cholesterol
A vegetarian diet helps in lowering cholesterol. A systematic review and controlled trial were carried out in 2015 and concluded that indeed a vegetarian diet lowers cholesterol.
Are There Health Disadvantages to Having a Vegetarian Diet?
Although a vegan diet has a good reputation, there have been studies that suggest otherwise. So what are the cons?
- Less Intake of Proteins
- Most plant-based proteins have fewer proteins. They don’t contain all 21 amino acids compared to meat which is full of proteins. Fewer amino acids might be a challenge as you can’t eat all plant-based proteins at once.
- There is a high chance of getting a stroke when on a vegan diet. However, more research is required to confirm this.
- There is an increased risk of nutrient deficiency. Going the vegetarian way may need you to take supplements to reduce the risk of getting fewer nutrients in the body. Taking supplements is required for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies.
Although eating a vegan diet has an added advantage to eating animal protein. Meat is rich in high-quality proteins and various minerals and vitamins. The mineral and vitamins include iron, vitamin B 12, Niacin, Phosphorus.
The advantages of meat include:
- Reduces fatigue during exercises and improves performance.
- Meat is rich in iron. Our bodies require iron to reduce the risk of having anemia.
- Maintains the muscles mass. Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It contains all the 21 amino acids and, this makes it a complete protein. Less intake of protein may result in muscle wasting that is common during old age. Increasing your protein intake and exercise workouts may help reduce this.
A vegetarian diet is ideal and has several advantages compared to eating meat. However, to prevent the risk of nutrient deficiency that the meat diet provides, you can look at taking eggs a few times a week to increase your protein intake. Do you want to try the vegan route? First, plan yourself well and be mentally prepared for the changes before you embark on them.
Huang, R. Y., Huang, C. C., Hu, F. B., & Chavarro, J. E. (2016). Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of general internal medicine, 31(1), 109–116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7
Tantamango-Bartley, Y., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Fan, J., & Fraser, G. (2013). Vegetarian diets and the incidence of cancer in a low-risk population. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology, 22(2), 286–294. https://doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-1060
Wang, F., Zheng, J., Yang, B., Jiang, J., Fu, Y., & Li, D. (2015). Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Blood Lipids: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of the American Heart Association, 4(10), e002408. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.115.002408