Potential Risks and Disadvantages of a Vegetarian Diet

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Most people think that a meat-free diet is the healthiest, but is it really? All types of diet have their own advantages and disadvantages and vegetarianism is no different. In today’s post, we are listing down the potential risks and disadvantages of a vegetarian diet:

Nutritional Deficiencies

Going completely green means shunning certain food groups and that can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Even when you found plant-based alternatives to animal-based products, the substitutes might not be as nutrient-dense.

Vegetarians are vulnerable to vitamin D and B12 deficiency because their diet lacks dairy products and eggs. Lack of dairy means reduced source of calcium. Zinc, which is abundant in animal-based foods, is limited in plant-based sources. Vegetarians are also likely to be deficient in this mineral.

Imbalanced Body Functions

It’s not unusual for people who struggle digesting meat and dairy products to turn to vegetarianism. But being intolerant of certain foods should not keep you from shunning entire food groups. Some people turn to vegetarianism because plant-based foods are “easier” to digest rather than selectively shunning offending foods. You are not working to re-balance the body to gain tolerance at all. Vegetarianism could lead to imbalanced body functions. Avoiding meat-based products because of a weak digestive system will not resolve your health concerns.

Disrupted Biological Mechanism

Contrary to popular belief, cravings are not completely bad. It’s the body’s way of cueing what nutrients the body lacks. And banning certain food groups will interrupt the body’s communication system. This will cause you to ignore cravings by blacklisting foods, which is not healthy at all. According to health experts, cravings are a great starting point in correcting several biological mechanisms in the body to resolve specific nutritional deficiencies.

Plant-Based Foods are Low in High-Quality Protein

Animal-based protein will always be superior to plant-based protein. In fact, protein from legumes, lentils, and nuts are 15 times lower in high-quality protein compared to meat. Sure, plant-based proteins are low in saturated fats but the quality of plant-based protein can affect certain organs. Some vegetarians consume such low-quality proteins that their liver does not respond to the thyroid and that can lead to metabolic issues – among other health concerns. On top of that, vegans and vegetarians usually have lower sperm count and motility than meat-eaters.

Risk of Toxicity

The phase 2 of liver detoxification is triggered by amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are abundant in meat products compared to plant-based foods. This is why vegan and vegetarians tend to suffer from impaired liver functions, increasing the risk of toxicity. If the liver is unable to filter out toxins from the blood, it can cause a variety of health complications. And this ability is dependent on adequate nutrition, something that vegetarianism and veganism do not provide.

Reduced Digestive Functions

Vegetarianism does not guarantee 100% easily digestible foods. Worse, this diet may actually compromise digestion. Protein from meat products stimulates the release of hydrochloric acid or HCL in the stomach to break down food. Regular stimulation of gastric juices is essential for a stronger stomach. A meat-free diet will reduce the flow of gastric juices, causing weaker stomach and disrupted digestive processes. In the end, the body will absorb fewer nutrients from the food you eat.

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