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Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters

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  1. Well, I clicked through, and I read the comments, and now I've lost all faith in humanity (again). So thanks!


    a mostly vegetarian who has a very nice quality of life and is healthy, maybe because I don't live in Austria but who knows.

    1. Lots of faketerians simply use it as an excuse to load up on sugars and carbohydrates. Real vegetarians avoid starches and sweets.

      6 Replies
      1. re: smoledman

        ' Real vegetarians avoid starches and sweets.' lol not true.

        1. re: smoledman

          A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. That's all the term means. It does not mean you automatically live a healthier lifestyle (thinking of all the vegetarians who smoked that I knew in college).

          I've known quite a few vegetarians over the years (and came pretty close to being one myself) and there's enormous variations in the vegetarian diet. I remember going to a Thanksgiving dinner at a college friend's house and her much older sister, who'd been a vegetarian for over twenty years, came with her vegetarian husband. Not fond of turkey, I was looking forward to their vegetarian main dish, which turned out to be a baked spinach pasta dish that had so much cheese that one might as well have called it baked cheese instead. The hostess/mother glanced at me and saw my expression and wryly said, "they're not really vegetarians. They're pastafarians." As you would expect the daughter and her husband were quite heavy people in contrast to the rest of the family.

          1. re: Roland Parker

            Haha Pastafarians! I'm borrowing that one.

            1. re: Roland Parker

              Yup, I've known vegetarians that didn't like vegetables. They were just ultra-picky starch addicts. They wore the vegetarian hat for nefarious purposes.

              1. re: smoledman

                Not any I know! Real vegetarians tend to default to grains, in my observation.

              2. If vegetarians “suffer significantly more often from anxiety/depression," does that mean that vegetarians are at a higher risk of suffering from mental illness or does that mean that the mentally ill are at a higher risk of becoming vegetarians?

                4 Replies
                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  Exactly! There's no evidence of casusality in this study (or at least the article about the study).

                  Maybe they were already less healthy when they went veg.

                  1. re: WNYamateur

                    If you read the actual study, the authors actually raise these very points. The study is based upon interviews and self report, they note.

                  2. re: FoodPopulist

                    I worked in a health food store for a few years. My observation was that the people buying the most extreme vegetarian foods and herbal supplements didn't have the greatest mental health. Some were downright desperate.

                    1. re: hal2010

                      I felt this way when I was younger, from my food co-op experiences. If these folks were eating such super healthy food than why did they get sick so easily (I knew a guy who claimed that his brain embolism was the result of his consumption of a plum! seriously!)and why were they so miserable? Until it occurred to me that if you're sick all the time and eating usually makes you feel bad, you will grasp at a lot of straws, and you're likely to be more unhappy, maybe even a little more crazy, than people who were able to eat and enjoy food.

                  3. I would like to know who funded that study.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gourmanda

                      There is no apparent funding source nor conflict of interest disclosure noted as is required for peer reviewed studies, listed, and the authors make no claims of causality, merely association based upon face to face interviews with subjects.

                    2. I wonder what the diabetes rate is for vegetarians.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: smoledman

                        It's very high in India, where rice and sweets are a big part of the diet.

                        1. re: hal2010

                          No one ever got blood sugar spiked from eating pure meat. It's either the bun or some other starches that are typically included in the meal.

                      2. I wonder if there's a reasonable explanation: I see more and more vegetarians now than ever. However, from my casual observations the largest growing group of vegetarians are people over 50-60 years old who ate meat all their lives and now have some very very serious health problems. They've immediately switched to strict plant based/no fat added diets. Of course this group is going to drive the health statistics through the roof. They were a small percentage of meat eaters but now they make up a disproportionate percentage of vegetarians. I suspect this trend has something to do with the increased likelihood of heart attacks and cancer in vegetarians.

                        And on another note...I'm a vegetarian but I certainly don't shy away from booze! I'm no teetotaler unless you're talking about bacon vodka.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PinkLynx

                          I doubt bacon vodka is made with real bacon.

                          1. re: PinkLynx

                            Exactly what we need are longitudinal studies of people who started on a vegetarian diet in their 20s and tracks them to their 50s-60s. The same with tracking people on the Standard American Diet.

                            1. Vegetarians are not automatically health nuts. There are plenty of "carbivores" who subsist on cheese and pasta.

                              Like any way of eating it is necessary to follow a balanced diet.

                              I am not sure this should be taken as the end all be all of research on the topic....

                              In the meantime i will continue to follow my own dairy free vegetarian diet that i have been for 20+ years that includes an obscene amount of fresh produce, legumes, whole grains and plant based fats. There is no study that can convince me animals need to die for me to eat

                              1. and another study "proving" the opposite in three...two...one