Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are Vegetarian Diets Dangerous?

Are you a vegetarian? Vegan? If so, do you feel as though you are getting an adequate supply of nutrients in your diet? Do you feel healthy? If not, here are some reasons why you may be suffering with health ailments due to dietary habits:

Strict vegetarian diets often rely too heavily on carbohydrates to provide daily intake of foods and to feel "full". Too many carbohydrates in the diet are harmful in various ways such as having a negative effect on the digestion, and in particular, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Without adequate amounts of the right type of protein to balance out carbohydrates, the digestive organs become overworked and unhealthy. According to Nina Planck, "A vegan diet may lack vitamin B12, found only in animal foods; usable vitamins A and D, found in meat, fish, eggs and butter; and necessary minerals like calcium and zinc. When babies are deprived of all these nutrients, they will suffer from retarded growth, rickets and nerve damage."

People who restrict their diets to "vegetables and fruits only" run the risk of being deficient simply because they are unable to eat the quantities required in order to remain healthy. "It can be hard to get all the right nutrients on these diets, including calcium, magnesium, B-12, and folic acid," says Edith Hogan, dietician and spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association.

The lack of fats and proteins in diets excluding animal products are strongly connected with obesity, depression, and a variety of other modern diseases. H.L. Abrams reported in The Journal of Applied Nutrition (1980) that vegetarians living in southern India who eat low protein and fat diets with high carbohydrate levels suffer heart disease rates double those of their counterparts in the northern region of the country, and have among the shortest life spans on the planet. These inhabitants are said to have very low muscle mass, possess a weakened constitution, and their children fail to thrive.

The most healthy recommendation for dietary eating is that which includes a moderate amount of animal proteins and fats, and also includes a heavy amount of vegetables and fruits with moderate whole grain intake. Animal proteins should be organic, chemical/antibiotic/steroid/nitrate free, and pasture-raised or grass fed. Animals and birds who are bred for their meat should not consume corn, soy, or grains as a primary food source. These substances upset the delicate balance of enzymes and essential fatty acids critical to human health in the meat itself. Grass and pasture-raised meats are leaner, higher in healthy fats which promote proper function of body systems, contain more protein, and less calories.

For an informative article on the critical importance of eating grass-fed meat and meat products, visit Agriculture Society.

1 comment:

FLC said...

I do not think vegetables are missing some of those mineral and vitamins as mentioned in the article. Refer to this vegetable site for more vegetable nutrients information