Researchers warn about health risks of vegetarianism

December 21, 2015

3 Min Read
Researchers warn about health risks of vegetarianism

An article titled, “The scary mental health risks of going meatless,” written by Jill Waldbieser for Women’s Health, shares new research that vegetarianism has several unexpected side effects such as panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, mood swings, anxiety, lack of energy, and depression.

Waldbieser writes, “It’s true that many of America's estimated 8 million vegetarians are drawn to the diet's promise of a healthier weight, heart, and planet. They pass on beef, poultry, and pork, unaware that a growing body of research suggests a link between going meatless and an elevated risk for serious mental disorders.”

According to the article, an estimated 29 million adults in America participate in Meatless Mondays; what’s more, there are more than 7,000 vegan cookbooks for sale on Amazon today. Yet, despite the growing popularity of going meatless, emerging research is proving that beef, and other animal proteins, are important for our mental and physical health.

READ: 5 out of 6 vegetarians eat meat again

​Waldbieser explains, “It was startling last year when Australian researchers revealed that vegetarians reported being 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 panic attacks and anxiety. A separate German study backs this up, finding that vegetarians were 15% more prone to depressive conditions and twice as likely to suffer anxiety disorders.”

When we think of superfoods, Waldbieser says most people think avocados, olive oil and nuts. However, as cattlemen already know, beef is a superfood.

Waldbieser says, “Anthropological evidence shows that, long before we could choose to subsist on cashews and tofu, animal flesh provided the energy-dense calories necessary to fuel evolving cerebellums. Without meat, we'd never have matured beyond the mental capacity of herbivores like gorillas. Today, stronger brains are still powered by beef—or at least, by many of the nutrients commonly found in animal proteins. At the top of the list are B vitamins, which your noggin needs to pump out neurotransmitters such as glutamate; low levels of it have been linked to depression, anxiety, and OCD (sound familiar?).”

READ: Are meat eaters happier than vegetarians? 

Moral of the story, beef is an energy-dense superfood that we need to boast about. Today’s challenge: share the nutritional benefits of beef on social media today and as Christmas draws near, be sure to post on Facebook or pass along your favorite prime rib or beef appetizer ideas for upcoming holiday gatherings.

How do you think the beef industry can gain momentum with health-conscious consumers, particularly millennials, with this new research? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.


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