Criticisms of Vegetarian Diet

Published: 28th September 2009
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Vegetarianism is gaining popularity across the world with more and more non vegetarians opting for a vegetarian diet that comprises of only fruits and vegetables and excludes all forms of meats and eggs. All those who have taken up the vegetarian diet, have shown positive changes and have improved their overall health. This diet recommends the intake of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. At the same time, there are some disadvantages of vegetarianism that you should be aware, if you plan to adopt this diet for weight loss.

Vegetarian diet is found to be low in proteins, calcium, vitamin B12, iron and zinc. Vitamin B12 is found in soy products, fortified cereals and animal products abundantly. This diet restricts meat which is a rich source of vitamin B12. Milk, soymilk and other dairy products that are rich sources of vitamin D are allowed but in low-moderate quantities. But Meat, chicken, fish and poultry contain more quantities of iron, zinc, and phosphorous that are easier to absorb than legumes and cereals are not allowed in the vegetarian diet. Milk, cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Foods like cheese, yoghurt, chicken, fish, and other poultry items that have essential vitamins, iron, zinc and other nutrients are not found in large quantities in the vegetarian diet.

Although the Vegetarian diet is healthy, it is not advised to bodybuilders as they need a diet with high level of proteins. This diet can also lead to anemia as foods rich with carbohydrates and proteins are restricted. It is also seen that vegetarians often suffer form bowel irregularities. The vegetarian diet limits the intake of foods with cholesterol and fats, which are essential for a strong nervous system and smooth bodily functions. This might pose a risk to your overall health in a long run.

For meat eaters the transition to a vegetarian diet could be difficult as the nutritional qualities of the plants are at times are not as much as poultry foods. Therefore, it sometimes becomes essential for a few vegetarian diet followers to take additional health supplements of vitamins, calcium, iron or introduce foods like protein bars/powders, soymilk, rice milk, etc., in their regular diets.

Those accustomed to having some form of meat at each meal face the problem of maintaining their levels of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats even when another nutritious foods are present in their diet. Other side effects of the vegetarian diet include brain fog, fatigue, memory loss, irritability, etc., due to sudden fluctuations in blood sugar. This may also affect performance levels at work or other physical activities. Moreover, protein starvation can result in serious illnesses and have an impact on mental and physical health.

Women can also experience iron and calcium deficiencies while on a vegetarian diet more so as they regularly lose some amount of these nutrients. Therefore, there are higher risks of their developing osteoporosis as compared to men.

Plant-based diets cannot provide as much amino acids as found in non-vegetarian foods like meat. Few diet experts also say that children raised on vegetarian diet may suffer from deficiencies of nutrients like vitamins, iron, zinc, etc that may hamper their appropriate growth.

In addition to this there is a possibility of weight gain instead of weight loss due to abrupt elimination of meat or other poultry foods which have a high nutritional value. Therefore, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian when taking a decision.


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