Benefits and Dangers of Going Vegetarian

13December 2021

Switching away from meat and more towards being a vegetarian has become easier than ever, and here we discuss the benefits and dangers of going vegetarian.

Welcome to this article from our Vegetarian Food Focus: First Look Series

Where in Wembley can I enjoy great Vegetarian Food?

5 Benefits of Going Vegetarian

    1. You’ll Save Money on Food
    2. You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Certain Diseases
    3. Decreases Asthma Symptoms
    4. Improves Bone Health
    5. Helps prevent obesity

6 Dangers of Going Vegetarian

    1. Your Taste Buds May Change
    2. You May Miss Out on Iron
    3. You May Experience Gas and Bloat
    4. Meal Choices May Be Limited
    5. You May Become the Odd One (out)
    6. You’ll Need Eyes Like a Hawk

Read on below for further details of each benefit and danger.


Introduction

Around the topic of vegetarianism lay many misconceptions. Some people think that they can’t be a vegetarian because they love meat.

Others think they need to give up all their favourite foods like cheese or chocolate. And some people don’t understand the concept at all.

But the truth is, you can be a vegetarian without giving up anything! 

You have to make sure that your diet includes lots of vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes. 

These foods give you the nutrients you need. These foods are so vital that we evolved our bodies to crave them.

So if you intend to eat less meat, you should start eating more of them today. 

This article will discuss some of the dangers and benefits of switching to vegetarianism.


Five Benefits of Going Vegetarian

There are several benefits of becoming a vegetarian

Below are five of them.

01. You Will Save Money on Food

If you eat meat, you spend a lot of money every week buying meat products. Meat products, relative to your other foods, will be expensive.

If you decide to go vegan, you won’t have to purchase animal-based products.

Instead, you’ll get most of your protein from plant sources such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. 

If you compare the cost of a typical meal made with meat with one made with wholemeal bread, pasta and vegetables, you’ll find that the latter costs much less.

02. You Will Reduce Your Risk of Certain Diseases

Meat has a proven association with an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

However, when you cut out meat from your diet, you also cut out saturated fats, which increase your risk of these illnesses.

Vegetables contain no fat whatsoever, so you’re also reducing your chances of developing cardiovascular problems by cutting out meat.

For instance, according to research conducted by Harvard University, vegetarians had a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease than non-vegetarians.

03. Decreases Asthma Symptoms

A recent health study (published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology) showed that vegans with asthma reported fewer symptoms after switching to a vegan diet.

Scientists believe this might be because of the high antioxidants found in plant-based foods.

Antioxidants help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, toxins and other harmful substances.

04. Improves Bone Health

Eating too little calcium is one of the leading causes of osteoporosis. Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth and is essential for healthy joints and muscles.

Plant-based diets tend to be higher in calcium than those based on meat. A review of studies published in the British Medical Journal concluded that vegetarians have significantly better bone density than meat-eaters.

05. Helps prevent obesity

Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate a low-fat vegan diet could lose weight while maintaining muscle mass.

Another study published in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that overweight men who followed a vegan diet lost twice as much body fat as those following a standard Western diet.


Six Dangers of Going Vegetarian

Unsurprisingly, there are some downsides to being a vegetarian. But as always, it comes down to a matter of perspective.

Judge for yourselves how much of a downside (or not) each one is.

Here are six of them:

01. Your Taste Buds May Change

On your first attempt to try new food, you will notice its different taste. It’s normal for your taste buds (your palette) to adapt to changes in what you eat.

When you switch to a vegetarian diet, your taste buds may take longer to adjust. This change means that you may need more variety in your meals or want something salty or sweet now and then.

02. You May Miss Out on Iron

You usually only get iron from animal products like red meat and poultry. If you don’t eat enough iron-rich foods, you may become anaemic.

Anaemia can cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath and even fainting. Iron deficiency can also lead to delayed wound healing and impaired immune function.

03. You May Experience Flatulence and Bloat

Vegetable proteins aren’t broken down into simpler forms like in meats, making them harder to digest.

As a result, they pass through your system undigested and can end up in your large intestine, where they ferment with bacteria.

The bacteria produce gases like Methane and hydrogen, making you feel bloated and uncomfortable.

04. Meal Choices May Be Limited

Vegetarian meal options are still relatively scarce compared to meat alternatives.

While there are plenty of delicious dishes you can make without meat, you may find yourself missing out if you’re used to being a carnivore.

05. You May Become the Odd One (out)

You risk getting stigmatised and ostracised by going vegetarian because you’ve chosen to go against what most others do.

Even though this is less the case, you may still get questions from your friends about your choices.

Worse still, you may bore people with stories of your clean eating lifestyle and perfect digestive system with you detox this or that—this kind of person you don’t want to become.

06. You’ll Need Eyes Like a Hawk

You would expect that choosing foods created for vegetarians would mean you won’t need to become a Sherlock Holmes to make simple choices.

Sadly the world is not driven by the need to satisfy you but by making money and profit.

Yes, it’s cynical. You’ll need to scrutinise your foods because certain products made for vegetarians contain animal products.

It’s incredible, right?


Conclusion – Benefits and Dangers of Going Vegetarian

There are many options for going vegetarian.

One option is to switch for ethical reasons. Try not to convert to vegetarianism because you think you’ll look slimmer or healthier.

Even though over the longer term, it may be the case. Instead, choose to make positive lifestyle changes that benefit your body and feelings.

There is value in switching enough to reduce your meat intake at home, but you can be less constrained when you eat out, especially if you’ve eaten meat.

With the above information, you will be able to decide whether or not you should convert to a vegetarian diet.

Should you have an alternative view, why not leave it in the comments section below?

References

Don McDonald

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