Should You Be A Vegetarian?
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Did you know or ever think that there are negatives to being a vegetarian? Nutritionists and dietitians post various articles about the benefits of vegetarianism and other diets. All diets, such as Weight Watchers, the vegan diet, and the Atkins diet, all have their advantages. The reasons why people go on a diet is to either lose weight or to improve their health. Some people start dieting because it is some fad toward self development and personal growth.
The biggest mistake that people make is not fully investigating the side effects of certain diets and not including exercise with dieting. Most people resort to a vegetarian diet if they want to make a statement and extreme lifestyle change. There is a variety of vegetarian diets. Most people chose to the vegan diet because they are not able to completely follow a meatless diet.
No matter which diet you choose, be aware of the side effects. Just like prescribed medication, there are negatives that come along with certain diets. Yet, nutritionists and dietitians don’t mention the negatives. If you don’t believe me, pay attention to commercials about the newest diet fad the next time you watch TV. Many doctors and other health professionals recommend a vegetarian diet. If you Google vegetarian diet, you will get a long list of articles about the benefits of becoming a plant eater. According to Brown University, vegetarian diets can reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure (2015). There are risks when you choose a vegetarian diet.
The body needs important nutrients to function, properly. Eating strictly plants doesn’t give enough essential nutrients, which can cause adverse affects to the body such as mental illness. Mentioning mental disorders and vegetarianism in the same sentence sounds like an oxymoron. But mental illness is not the only negative effect of a vegetarian diet. The average person won’t believe that vegetarianism can cause adverse body affects, such as mental illness. I didn’t believe it until I saw an article on Psychology Today that mentioned a strong correlation between mental illness and vegetarianism. Perplexed, I stared researching other negative effects of a vegetarian diet.
The Two Most Common Negative Effects of a Vegetarian Diet
1. B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is found in meat products, such as poultry and fish. Vitamin B12 is essential for brain development and properly functioning of the brain, nerve cells, and other parts of the body (Skerrett, 2015). The lack of B12 is a result of B12 deficiency, which causes anemia, memory loss, paranoia and hallucinations, and jaundice (Skerrett 2015).
2. Increase the risk of mental illness
Depression and other depressive disorders are a result of the brains inability to transmit neurotransmitters responsible for mood and memory. Over the past decade, researchers have performed empirical studies on the adverse effects of vegetarianism. The results of such studies uncovered a strong correlation with depressive disorders. The increase of mental illness is a result of B12 deficiency.
B12 deficiency and mental illness are the most common negative effects of vegetarianism. But don’t change your mind about a vegetarian diet. Just be aware of the side effects. The benefits of such diets can improve your health and increase weight loss. There are ways you can decrease the negative affects vegetarianism.
The best way to reverse the negative effects of vegetarianism is to consume foods that have substantial sources of B12. You can research sources for B12 on the Internet. Refine your search to “sources of B12 for vegetarian diets”. Your search will result in a large list of articles that help new vegetarians. I recommend articles associated with medical organizations and universities.
Stay away from articles that use a lot of technical terms. You’ll get distracted and forget the reason why you started reading the article in the first place. Those articles are for health professionals. If you are like me, you want to read the something that’s short, sweet and to the point.
Mathew Lee’s article, Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegetarians, is a good source of information. His article lists four food sources that include enough B12 required for the body to function properly. These food sources are found in dairy products, yeasts, eggs, and fortified foods (2015).
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
Brown University. (n.d). Being a Vegetarian. Retrieved 09 March 2015).
Lee, Matthew. (n.d). Vitamin B12 for Vegetarians. Retrieved 09 March 2015.
Skerrett, Patrick, J. (January 10, 2013) Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaking, harmful. Harvard Health
Publications. Retrieved 09 March 2015.