Episode #48: Are Vegans or Vegetarians Healthier than Meat-Eaters?

publicenergy / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

What is vegetarian?

  • No meat, poultry, or fish

What is vegan?

  • No animal products, not even eggs, honey, or dairy products

Pros & Cons of Vegetarian

  • In general, a vegetarian diet is lower in fat and higher in fiber
  • Imitation meat products are NOT healthier
  • Body doesn’t absorb plant sources of iron as well
  • Vegetarians and vegans CAN get adequate protein, calcium, iron, and zinc

Pros & Cons of Vegan

  • Lacks Vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products – Have to take a supplement
  • If not done correctly, risk of anemia

Pros & Cons of Eating Meat

  • Animal protein benefits: More satiety than plant protein, complete AA profile, iron highly absorbable
  • It tastes good!
  • Quantity matters (as always_
  • Quality – hot dogs vs. wild game and seafood
  • High intake of red meat and processed meats= higher colon cancer risk

Client Experience

  • Vegetarian becoming vegan: “What can I replace my cheese pizza, a staple of my diet, with?”
  • Some people feel better with no meat, dairy, or both

Bottom line: A vegetarian or vegan diet can be just as unhealthy as a high meat diet.  A healthy balanced eating plan is about EVERYTHING you eat, not just meat or the lack of meat.  Type and quantity of meat or plant protein can drastically change the quality of your diet.  Find what works for you!

Listener Question: Jaime Gonek Christmas booze: what gives the least damage to your diet? I know you’re not going to say Bailey’s…..

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