Nutrition: Discussing the pros and cons of a no meat diet
The health benefits of a no meat diet is a hot topic among both the layman nutritionist and the professional. Obviously, we are all aware that the minute anyone says, “vegetarian” or “vegan”, there are instant stereotypes associated. Your upbringing, education, worldview and overall exposure to the topic will shape how you view a meatless diet in general. We are going to expound a little bit more on this issue and discuss the pros and cons of the no meat diet.
Often a needed point of clarification: The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian diet is that a vegetarian diet will incorporate animal bi-products such as milk and eggs, whereas a vegan diet will not.
A no meat diet will prevent disease.
Recently, McCuistion TV conducted a two part series with T. Collin Campbell, author of The China Study, discussing the health benefits of a vegan diet. During the series, he expounded on the study and explained that their findings clearly indicated that to have optimized health, animal products should be eliminated and a strict vegan diet is the healthiest way to prevent disease.
A no meat diet will lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The American Dietetic Association has also produced results from their studies that promotes health benefits to a vegetarian diet.
“Winston Craig, professor of nutrition and wellness at Andrews University, and Reed Mangels, nutrition advisor at the Vegetarian Resource Group, Baltimore, conducted the study on behalf of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages, including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
‘Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids,’ the study said.
These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet, said an ADA release.”
Vitamin B-12 deficiency in a no meat diet.
Although few will dispute the health benefits of eating more vegetables and less red meat, there are concerns that a meatless diet has other health risks. According to the Ukiah Clinic,
“Vitamin B12 is fittingly known as the energy vitamin, and your body requires it for a number of vital functions. Among them: energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation. Myelin is insulation that protects your nerve endings and allows them to communicate with one another…Vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely common in strict vegetarians and vegans. B12 is not readily available in plants, so if you do not eat meat or animal products you are at risk.
The few plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs. An analog is a substance that blocks the uptake of true B12, so your body’s need for the nutrient actually increases…
after about seven years of B12 deficiency, irreversible brain damage can result.
Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse micronutrient for a whole host of reasons. Your body needs B12 for:
- proper digestion, food absorption, iron use, carbohydrate and fat metabolism
- healthy nervous system function
- promotion of normal nerve growth and development
- help with regulation of the formation of red blood cells
- cell formation and longevity
- proper circulation
- adrenal hormone production
- healthy immune system function
- support of female reproductive health and pregnancy
- feelings of well-being and mood regulation
- mental clarity, concentration, memory function
- physical, emotional and mental energy
A meatless diet leads to lower bone mineral density.
According to a recent article on Science Alert.
“Researchers in Australia and Vietnam searched all peer-reviewed literature on the subject, selecting nine studies for analysis. The nine studies compared bone mineral density (BMD) of meat eaters and vegetarians from around the world, including 2749 men and women.
Their results showed that people on vegetarian diets have BMD roughly 5 per cent lower than non-vegetarians.
The study was led by Professor Tuan Nguyen from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Dr Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Their findings are published online today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition…
‘We conclude that vegetarians as a group have lower BMD than meat eaters as a group, but whether the difference translates into increased fracture risk has yet to be resolved.’”
There are obviously positives and negatives on both sides of the “meat or no meat diet” debate. We’d be interested to hear your feedback on the subject and any more informational articles you’d like to post in the comments section as well.