Vegan diets have caught a lot of attention recently. But is switching to a vegan diet a really healthy choice we can make? Vegan diets have lower saturated fat and cholesterol levels, as well as greater nutritional fiber. As a result, vegans have lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol, all of which minimize their risk of heart diseases. However, excluding all animal products from one’s diet can raise the risks of nutritional inadequacies.
Vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids are important micronutrients for vegans. Therefore, vegans should take supplements if they don’t eat foods enriched with these nutrients regularly. In addition, because of the poor bioavailability of these minerals, the iron and zinc status of vegans may be of concern in some circumstances.
Most people cannot even imagine a daily menu that does not include meat, not to mention giving up meat forever and seeing everyone around do the same. However, specialists warn that we need more fruits and vegetables to enjoy better health and reduce disease risks. They also warn that the consumption of meat, especially red meat varieties, increases mortality risks. Here are two recent and relevant studies on the subject.
Meat Vs. Fruits And Vegetables – Representative Research
- A study published in February 2017 in the International Journal of Epidemiology concluded that we need to consume ten portions (800g) of fruits and vegetables every day to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer and prevent premature death.
- Another study published in May 2017 concluded that consuming red meat increases death risks through nine different causes, most related to heme iron, nitrates, and nitrites.
No matter how many studies we look at and how many experts we ask, they will all say the same: fruits and vegetables are good, and we should consume more of them; meat is bad, and we should avoid it. No wonder so many people around the world choose to give up meat entirely and become vegetarian!
In the U.S. alone, the number of adults who stay away from meat, poultry, and fish is estimated to reach or come close to 8 million. Out of them, approximately 25% do not consume any type of animal-based products.
Nutritionists expect these numbers to grow as people become better informed and more responsible regarding their health. Vegetarianism is also an answer to the global concern regarding resource exhaustion, so it should be worth some attention.
Vegetarianism Under The Microscope
As you know, vegetarianism is a lifestyle that involves banning meat from your menu. However, the different stands it adepts took throughout time regarding the suitability of the other animal products in their diet have led to several different varieties. Below are some notable varieties of vegetarianism.
- Vegans – They do not eat animal products at all
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarians – The only animal products they eat are eggs and dairy products
- Lacto-vegetarians – They consume dairy products
- Ovo-vegetarians – They consume eggs
- Partial vegetarians – They avoid red meat, but they may eat poultry and fish.
Some people use these varieties as stages to give up animal products gradually. They begin by giving up red meat, excluding fish and poultry from their diet, and finally eliminating eggs and dairy. Why the sacrifice? For the numerous benefits at stake:
Top 10 Benefits of Vegetarianism
With so many benefits at stake, it is no wonder some feel people will slowly but surely give up their meat-eating habits in favor of fruits and vegetables.
What consequences would such a choice bring about?
The obvious one is that people would live longer and healthier lives, and many premature deaths would be avoided. The rest of them are worth reviewing separately.
What Would Happen If Everyone Suddenly Went Vegetarian And Stopped Eating Meat?
If vegetarianism became a lifestyle for everyone on our planet, it would probably bring about both positive and negative changes:
Positives Of Vegetarianism
- Since people would no longer consume meat from animals raised with antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant infections could disappear.
- There would be a significant drop, of approximately 60%, in food-related emissions, especially methane.
- The unused pastures could be re-purposed into native habitats and forests, thus alleviating climate change and supporting biodiversity.
- Farming would develop, leading to the creation of new crops and the appearance of fresh fruits and vegetables on everyone’s menu.
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Negative Consequences Of Vegetarinism
- According to a study, the researchers found the following about vegetarians:
- They are 18% more likely to suffer from depression.
- 15% of vegetarians can have depressive moods.
- About 28% of vegetarians are predisposed to anxiety attacks and disorders.
- According to a recent study, it was discovered that a lack of protein in the vegetarian diet could lead to hair loss.
- Due to a lack of meat, and seafood vegetarians may not get the correct amount of zinc, vitamin B12, and iodine, leading to vitamin deficiency.
Positives Of Vegan Diet
- Studies believe that a vegan diet can lessen the symptoms of arthritis.
- Vegan Diet can prevent Type 2 diabetes. Consuming a vegan diet can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 78%.
- Veganism can slow down climate change.
- It can increase our life expectancy.
- A vegan diet can considerably reduce the risk of major diseases such as cancer.
- Since vegans do not consume animal products of any kind, they can associate themselves with those who do not harm animals. This fact can uplift their mood.
- Vegans are actually considered to be happier than non-vegetarians.
- A vegan diet can help people achieve their desired body weight since vegan food contains low calories than non-vegetarian food, enabling them to lose weight without focusing on the consumption of calories.
Negative Consequences Of Vegan Diet
- Everyone currently raising cattle or working in the meat processing industry would need retraining for a new career. If they do not or they fail to find a new job, the result could be mass unemployment.
- Biodiversity may suffer, considering that livestock grazing helps shape the land, and the arid lands that are now home and food sources to livestock herds could turn into deserts.
- Traditions like the Thanksgiving turkey could be lost, and the nomads raising cattle for a living could lose their source of income and cultural identity, being forced to settle and find other occupations.
- New health conditions may appear, as vegetarianism could lead to several important nutrient deficiencies: protein, vitamins D, K, E, and B12, calcium, zinc, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
- In order to avoid them, people would need supplements, which could boost the dietary supplements and pharmaceutical industry.
What Would Happen If Everyone Went Vegan?
Changing to a new vegan diet may sound difficult, but a significant percentage of people have adopted a plant-based diet in the past few years. In the UK alone, the number of people who adopted the vegan diet has risen to 340%.
The interest in veganism is growing at a rapid rate worldwide. As a result, people have started opting for dairy-free products. Also, celebrities like Liam Hemsworth and Natalie Portman actively advocate veganism and spread awareness about vegan diets and their positives.
Veganism And Global Warming
One of the biggest reasons for veganism gaining people’s interest from around the world is the effects it has on the environment.
According to the research conducted at the University of Oxford, it is believed that vegan-based diets can save up to 8 million lives in 2050 and cut global warming. It also states how veganism can reduce greenhouse emissions by two-thirds and can lead to savings for healthcare purposes.
Also, veganism acknowledges and sheds light on the cruelty animals face in the dairy, and farm industry.
Going vegan can stop the extensive breeding of cows, chickens, and turkeys.
Farm animals are significantly more rigorously bred than wild animals, so any “cows taking over the world” scenarios are a bit far-fetched. Any restored animal numbers would vary and reach a balance, based on predators and available resources in the wild, as they do with all species.
The Worse That Could Happen If the World Turned Vegetarian
When we imagine the future, we usually choose to hope for the best and ignore the rest. For example, in the meat vs. vegetarianism debate, we tend to forget that meat hasn’t always been the health hazard as it is today. On the contrary, it was one of the most important foods in our ancestors’ diet.
We turned it into a health hazard when we stopped feeding our livestock with grass and cereals, and we chose to boost their growth and health with hormones and antibiotics. We signed our own death sentence when we began using chemicals in our processed foods.
So who can guarantee we will not do the same with fruits and vegetables?
In fact, we are already doing it. Those health studies showing how beneficial fruits and veggies are for our health surely didn’t use supermarket varieties stuffed with pesticides. Vegetarianism advocates have certainly not taken into account all the chemicals used when processing fruits and vegetables.
Before we compare lifestyles, we need to establish and maintain an objective perspective. If you analyze things objectively, you will see that meat consumption is not a big problem, and vegetarianism is not necessarily the best solution. Our biggest problem, food-wise, is that we are poisoning ourselves.
As shown above, meat has health benefits. But, moreover, its health risks come from the way the livestock is raised and the processing industry. The same health risks could come from fruits and vegetables treated with pesticides and fertilizers.
Therefore, instead of asking ourselves which foods we should eliminate and what consequences, they could have, why not start making efforts to eliminate all those harmful chemicals and reduce processing to a minimum? This way, we can enjoy both excellent health and the excellent taste and satiety that come with meat.
Have you ever tried to embrace the vegetarian diet? Would you follow it for the rest of your life? What do you think would happen if everyone went vegetarian and stopped eating meat?
We would love to hear your opinion on the subject, so don’t hesitate to express your thoughts! Also, do share this with others to spread the word!
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Key Takeaways On Should Everyone Be A Vegan
- Veganism is the practice of avoiding the consumption of animal products, notably in the diet, and a philosophy that rejects the status of animals as commodities.
- Dietary vegans, usually referred to as “strict vegetarians,” abstain from eating meat, eggs, dairy products, and other animal-derived goods.
- Specialists warn that to enjoy better health and reduce disease risks; we need more fruits and vegetables.
- Meat Vs. Fruits And Vegetables – Representative Research: Studies show that consumption of fruits and vegetables prevents premature death.
- Another study concluded that consuming dead meat can the risk of early death.
- Vegetarianism Under The Microscope: The practice of surviving only on vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and nuts, with or without dairy and eggs, for ethical, ascetic, environmental, or nutritional grounds.
- Vegetarianism Varieties: We can further divide vegetarianism into five parts.
- Vegans: They do not consume animal products at all
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarians: They only consume eggs and dairy products alongside vegetarian dishes.
- Lacto-vegetarians: They consume dairy products.
- Ovo-vegetarians: They consume only eggs.
- Partial vegetarians: They may eat poultry and fish but avoid red meat.
Some Of The Benefits Of Vegetarianism Are
- It helps in losing weight.
- Vegetarians and vegans have a longer life expectancy.
- They have a low risk of heart disease and cancer.
- What Would Happen If Everyone Suddenly Went Vegetarian And Stopped Eating Meat: It will bring both positive and negative changes.
- Positives Of Vegetarianism: There are many positives of vegetarianism.
- One of them is that vegetarianism will develop farming, which will help farmers produce a large number of foods.
- Negative Consequences Of Vegetarianism: On the contrary, vegetarians can have more hair loss due to a lack of protein in meat in high quantity.
- Positives Of Vegan Diet: Vegan diet can increase our life expectancy and also help slow down climate change.
- Negative Consequences Of Vegan Diet: A vegan diet can interfere with medical conditions like Osteoporosis and Diabetes.
- Also, adapting to vegan diets can be challenging.
- What Would Happen If Everyone Went Vegan: Going vegan can stop the extensive breeding of cows, chickens, and turkeys.
- The Worse That Could Happen If the World Turned Vegetarian: Vegetarianism advocates have certainly not considered all the chemicals used when processing fruits and vegetables.
What Is The Percentage Of People Who Are Vegan?
The precise percentage of vegans globally is unknown because it varies depending on the country. However, veganism is currently practiced by less than one percent to three percent of the world’s population.
Difference Between Veganism And Vegetarianism?
Vegetarians do not eat pigs, chickens, cows, fish, or any other animals. On the contrary, a vegan does not eat any animal flesh and does not consume dairy milk, dairy cheese, eggs, or other animal-derived food.
What Are The Global Benefits Of Vegetarianism?
Vegetarianism can benefit from the following globally: