As we know, our daily diet can affect our health. Today, vegetable, green food becomes the synonym of healthy food. People start to modify their diets that eat more vegetables and less meat. What’s more, many choose to become vegetarians. Approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.
However, a research group in Austria set off an alarm bell for vegetarians: be a vegetarian is not healthier. Its results showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), a higher need for health care, and poorer quality of life. In detail, the analysis shows that in the frequency of chronic diseases, significantly higher cancer incidence rates in vegetarians than in subjects with other dietary habits. Also, vegetarians suffer largely more often from anxiety disorder and/or depression. Additionally, they have a poorer quality of life in terms of physical health, social relationships, and environmental factors. This study contains the large sample size, the matching according to age, sex, and socioeconomic background, and the standardized measurement of all variables. And they consider the influence of weight and lifestyle factors on health, such as physical exercise and smoking behavior. So this study actually avoid confounding variables. But it has only shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy, have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment. Moreover, we still need a more in-depth analysis of the health effects of different dietary habits.
I have heard that there is a connection between infertility and vegetarianism. A research group in University of Munich had this kind of study. They found that vegetarians in their samples has possibility that cause changes in hormone levels. To be specific, vegetarian’s diet easily cause deficiency of protein and fat, which influence fertilization. But the result may cause by confounding variables. For example, because diets of vegetarians are relatively simple, vegetarians are easier to get disturbances in estrogen levels, which influence fertilization, than non-vegetarians. However, this phenomenon unusually exits clinically. Also, it’s hard to consider other factors except diet, such as congenital defects, reproductive system inflammation, age and psychological state. It cannot state whether a causal relationship exists, but describe ascertained associations
What’s more, a vegetarian diet can be lacking in certain key nutrients, if not well planned. For instance, vegetarian should eat more to maintain healthy and get enough protein. Vegetarians and vegans also need to prioritize their intake of iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may also be necessary.
Eventually, I’d like to say that be a vegetarian is not the only way to keep healthy. Especially sometimes false belief in vegetarianism can even cause adverse effects. So, trying to balance nutrition, maintain healthy daily routine and exercise is the suitable to keep healthy.
If someone want to become a vegetarian, he or she actually requires planning and knowledge of plant-based nutrition. Here are some resources that can help:
American Dietetic Association www.eatright.org
The Vegetarian Resource Group www.vrg.org