Myths About the Vegetarian Diet

The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote about misconceptions people have about a vegetarian diet:

The best reason to avoid going vegetarian is because you just really love to eat meat. If so, that’s fine. Eat it. But too many people suffer from kooky notions that cutting animals out of your diet will lead to deleterious effects on your health that simply aren’t there.

If you don’t want to read the whole thing (though I recommend you do), here are the five myths:

  1. You won’t get enough protein
  2. Your diet will be lacking in vital nutrients
  3. Your food bill will go up
  4. You’ll have to give up sacred flavor sensations
  5. A vegetarian diet impairs your physical performance.

None of the above are true. And that’s in addition to the more talked about benefits of going meat-free (treatment of animals, better health outcomes, etc). 

While I think the treatment of animals has a middling future, I’m optimistic overall about the prevalence of vegetarianism. 

According to this survey, about 10% of the population identifies as vegetarian in some respect, and here’s a good article about the slowly moving vegetarian tide in America.

Overall, vegetarian diets lead to better health outcomes than non-vegetarian ones (see here, and here), and typically don’t suffer from many drawbacks. However, the differences between vegetarian and non-vegetarian health outcomes get much smaller when you only study health conscious people (see also here). But vegetarians still have a lower prevalence of diseases of abundance, which follow meat consumption more closely than plant consumption.

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