There are significant benefits to adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet. Notably, vegetarianism reduces one’s risk of coronary artery disease by lessening the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in one’s diet. Vegetarians typically have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who are not vegetarians. Certain vegetables and vegetable proteins, such as the soya protein, have been linked to reduced levels of cancer in the countries in which they are most popular. Equally importantly, vegetarians are less likely to suffer from stroke, hypertension, and diabetes, and less likely to die from ischemic heart disease, than omnivores.
But nothing is without its risks, and vegetarian and vegan diets are no exception. Recent research indicates that deficiencies of protein and nutrients may make vegetarians more susceptible to depression, fatigue, and lowered sex drives. In addition, there are significant health risks for those who forgo meat without finding appropriate substitutes.
10. Eating Disorders
A study undertaken at the College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota in 2009 found a link between eating disorders and vegetarian diets among teenagers. Specifically, teens who relinquish meat are more likely to binge-eat, and former vegetarians have a greater chance of suffering from bulimia. Researchers did not know whether the diet itself predisposes one to struggle with eating disorders, or whether teens with eating disorders are attracted to vegetarian diets.
9. Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is a chemical element that’s vital to building up the immune system and protecting the body from invasion. Maintaining an adequate amount of zinc in one’s diet becomes increasingly important in the last years of life. Older people who don’t appropriate enough zinc become more susceptible to pneumonia, the fifth-leading cause of death among the elderly.