Vegetarians Is Overrated
- Pages: 4
- Word count: 897
- Category: Food
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Vegetarianism is a growing food choice trend. Traditionally, vegetarianism was a result of religious practices, but today, it is practiced for religious and health reasons. The modern media portrayal of an ideal woman as thin has been attributed to the high rate of vegetarianism especially among young women. Vegetarianism has been credited with a number of health benefits but on the other hand, it comes with many health risks especially among strict vegetarians who completely eliminate animal products from their diet. Today, everybody is jumping into vegetarian bandwagon declaring distaste for meat but in the process they neglect their health. However, the health benefits of vegetarianism are overrated since it may have more negative health effects.
In this paper we are going to prove the fact that vegetarianism is overrated. We are going to prove this by basing our facts on the nutritional requirements of a healthy individual and whether vegetarians actually meet these requirements as compared to healthy non vegans.
Vegetarianism is a food choice method in which individuals consume plant based foods and exclude animal products including meat, fish, milk, and poultry. However, restriction of animal products differs with the different kinds of vegetarianism. Basically there are different kinds of vegetarianism. A lacto-Ovo vegetarian is a person who consumes daily products and eggs in addition to eating plant based foods. A lacto vegetarian is person who eats dairy products and plants based foods but do not eat eggs. An Ovo vegetarian is a person who eats eggs and plant based products but does not consume dairy products. Lastly a vegan or a pure vegetarian is someone who eats only plant based food and restrain from eating dairy products or eggs (Stepaniak, 2000).
The reasons why an individual choose to be a vegetarian are many and varied. In some Eastern countries like India, the reasons may be due to religious, morality, culture, and ethic factors. However in countries like United States which boasts of more than 10 million vegetarians, the reasons may be aesthetic, environment, economy, taste, or health.
Regardless of the reason for vegetarianism, it has been widely acknowledged by health experts that vegetarianism, especially vegans, is detrimental to individual health and can lead to negative health effects. However, some form of vegetarianism like lacto and Ovo vegetarians can meet their daily requirements of important nutrients like protein, iron and Vitamin B12 from either milk, eggs or both. However, vegetarianism is effective in preventing some common diseases like cancer, heart diseases, and others which are related to excessive consumption of meats and fatty foods.
Following a health nutritional plan, it is imperative for an individual to eat a balanced diet to maintain healthy body that can raise self defense from various infections. This means that the body must meet the required amount of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats (Stepaniak, 2000). A healthy nutritional plan would involve a combination of both plant and animal foods that complement the nutrients from these foods. For example, animal proteins are absorbed well than plant sources while iron from animal sources is absorbed better than iron from plant sources.
Due to restriction from taking animal products, vegetarians are likely to suffer from deficiency of protein, iron and vitamin B12. These nutrients which are deficient in vegetarians are very important in our body. For example complete protein and iron are very important for body defense. Protein is especially important in manufacture and repair of body cells. Deficient in these important nutrients are more likely to lead to health complications in our body.
According to this review, we understand that there is a high likelihood of vegans suffering from deficiency of important nutrients. Despite the high publicity created around the effectiveness of the vegetarian diet in improving health, it is very clear that this may be overrating the diet since it is deficient in nutrients. For example although vegetarian experts argue that they can enhance iron intake through consumption of iron rich food together with Vitamin C rich foods, there is evidence that this intake may not be absorbed well as compared to iron from animal sources.
Pro vegetarians argue that vegetarianism is the ultimate solution for the increased rate of overweight cases in the society. However, this is overrating vegetarianism since we have many healthy individuals who are not vegetarian and yet they consume animal products. Except where the reason for vegetarianism is religious or cultural, there is no health factor which can support vegetarianism. In any case, it exposes individuals to various health problems. Conforming to healthy food patterns is therefore the most important way to a healthy life.
Vegetarianism is a diet preference in which individual restrains from eating animal products and instead restricts their diet to plant based foods. However, there are different kinds of vegetarians including lacto vegetarian who eats dairy products and plant foods, Ovo vegetarians who eat eggs and plant products, and strict vegetarians who eat plant foods only. Although vegetarianism has advantages of reduced incidences of heart diseases, individuals may fail to meet the daily nutrients requirements especially for proteins, iron and vitamin B12 which expose them to various health risks. Vegetarianism is therefore overrated since we have healthy individuals who are not vegetarians.
Stepaniak, J. (2000). Being Vegan. McGraw-Hill