Vegetarian? You’re going to want a side of meat with those vegetables. Vegetarians are less healthy than meat eaters, according to a new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria. Vegetarians suffer from higher risk of asthma, cancer, allergies, and poor mental heath compared to their meat-eating counterparts.
Vegetarians may have a lower BMI, but vegetarian diets are tied to generally poorer health, poorer quality of life and a higher need for health care than their meat-eating counterparts.
The vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.
The study surveyed over 15,000 people, a mix of vegetarians, vegetarians who eat eggs and cheese, and meat eaters. The results showed that more than 30% of vegetarians surveyed had allergies, while less than 17% of participants who regularly included meat in their diet had allergies. Vegetarians were also twice as likely to have allergies, a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and a 50 percent increase in incidences of cancer.
But don’t give up eating veggies yet. Vegetarians do get some credit for leading healthier lifestyles; it turns out they are less likely to smoke and also drink less alcohol. The research also found that veg-heads were more physically active, had better socioeconomic status, and had better health behaviors overall. It seems that cutting out meat doesn't mean better health across the board.
The researchers conclude: “Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment.”
“Therefore, a continued strong public health program for Austria is required in order to reduce the health risk due to nutritional factors.”
The cross-sectional study was published in PLos One.
Source: Mens Fitness
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