The dangers of vegetarianism were talked about almost immediately after its appearance. First, opponents of such a nutritional system, and then doctors and scientists. And, although to date, research in this area is still ongoing, several ailments can already be identified that may appear as a result of switching to a vegetarian diet. The mechanism of their occurrence is described in publications of specialists in nutrition.
Vegetarianism: benefit or harm?
The attitude towards vegetarianism has always been controversial. There has been a lot of controversy around this issue, but not because a vegetarian diet is unhealthy. Like any other, it has its pros and cons. And ideal for some people and contraindicated for others. And the point is not only in genetics, but also in the climate of the country in which a person lives, his age, the presence or absence of chronic diseases, etc.
In addition, the type of vegetarian diet that a person follows is of great importance. Doctors divide it into:
- Strict – She recommends eliminating all animal foods from your diet.
- Non-strict – when a person refuses only meat.
And every time they remind that “Everything is good in moderation.” Moreover, when it comes to diet.
The dangers of strict vegetarianism
Doctors advise residents of our country to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet only for a certain period of time. Thus, it will effectively cleanse the body without causing health problems associated with a lack of vitamins. There may be several of them: a deterioration in metabolism, the condition of the skin and mucous membranes, a violation of hematopoiesis and the work of the nervous system, growth retardation and development in children, the appearance of,, osteoporosis, etc.
Ophthalmologists say that a vegetarian who follows a strict diet for a long time is easily recognizable by his eyes. The fact is that the lack of protein in his body contributes to the free circulation of toxins, which, first of all, affect the organs of vision, provoking development and not only.
At the same time, almost all doctors are supportive of a non-strict vegetarian diet, noting its beneficial effects on the body.
What Vegans May Be Missing?
- found in meat and fish. Its deficiency leads to arthritis, heart problems, muscle atrophy, cholelithiasis, etc. In this case, a person experiences a sharp weight loss, edema, hair loss, pallor of the skin and the appearance of a rash, general weakness, headaches and insomnia. During this period, there may be slow healing of wounds, the appearance of irritability and depression.
- that are found in fish. Their deficiency leads to the development of atherosclerosis, the appearance of personality disorders and depression, skin problems, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, allergies, some forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis.
- , which is found in food of animal origin. Its lack leads to the development of weakness, fatigue, constipation, loss of appetite, anemia, depression, dementia, problems with memory and water-alkaline balance, sudden weight loss, disturbances in the nervous system, swelling, numbness of fingers and toes.
- found in dairy foods. When it binds to vitamin D, it has many functions. And its deficiency negatively affects not only bones, but also muscles, blood vessels, nervous system, synthesis of hormones and enzymes.
- which is found in fish and dairy foods. Its deficiency leads to the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, the development of rickets and allergic reactions, in particular in children, erectile dysfunction in men, as well as hypertension, depression, diabetes, osteoporosis, osteopenia, some forms of cancer, inflammatory diseases and caries.
- , in particular, hemo-iron, which is found in animal foods. The fact is that there is also non-hemo-iron, which is found in plant foods. The latter is less assimilated by the body. The lack of this trace element leads to the development of anemia, weakness, depression and fatigue. At the same time, some vegetarians, with improper diet planning, may have an excess of iron, as a result of which intoxication may begin.
- which is found in dairy foods. Its deficiency can result in problems with hematopoiesis, disorders of the reproductive system and thyroid gland, rapid fatigue, deterioration of the skin and mucous membranes.
- which comes from seafood and is responsible for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.
- … Oddly enough, but its deficiency can arise due to the intake of mainly cereals in the body. The condition is fraught with the appearance of rickets, anemia, growth and developmental delays in children.
Nevertheless, you can prevent the development of all these ailments by carefully considering your diet and making sure that the body receives all the necessary substances in sufficient quantities, albeit with other foods. For example, protein can be taken from legumes, iron – from legumes, nuts and mushrooms, vitamins – from vegetables and fruits. And vitamin D comes from warm sunlight.
Is vegetarianism an illusion?
Some scientists insist that vegetarianism, strict or non-strict, is only an illusion, since a person still gets his animal fats and irreplaceable ones, which are in food of animal origin, albeit in a slightly different way.
The fact is that over time, the body of vegans adapts to their type of diet due to the appearance of saprophytic bacteria in their intestines. Taking a direct part in the digestion process, they produce the same essential amino acids. And all would be fine, only this happens only as long as this microflora populates the intestines. But the most interesting thing is that it dies not only from antibiotics, but also from phytoncides – substances that are in onions, garlic and even carrots.
In addition, it is believed that the amount of protein that is involved in the metabolism of a vegan and a meat-eater is identical. And they explain this by the fact that metabolic processes cannot switch to a vegetarian type of diet, even if the person himself switched to it. The missing substances (proteins) are taken from the tissues and organs of the organism itself, due to which the functions of vital organs are supported. In other words, vegetarianism is an illusion. Of course, from the point of view of physiology.
Vegetarianism and calories
The diet of a vegetarian differs from the diet of a meat-eater with a lower calorie content, however, just like the plant food itself is different from food of animal origin. In addition, vegetable fats are practically not assimilated without animals. Therefore, in order to gain the required 2000 kcal, a vegan, according to calculations, should eat 2 – 8 kg of food per day. But, being of plant origin, at best, this food will lead to increased gas production, and at worst – to volvulus.
In fact, vegetarians eat less. However, sometimes, due to an improperly composed diet, their body may receive less kilocalories. Most often, instead of the required 2000 – 2500, only 1200 – 1800 kcal are supplied. But, the most interesting thing is that according to research results, metabolic processes in their bodies still proceed in the same way as if the amount of calories received was sufficient.
This is explained by the presence of a unique substance in the body, thanks to which it becomes possible to reuse the energy received with food. This is about lactic acid, or lactate… The same one that is produced in the muscles during intense physical exertion, and then enters the bloodstream.
True, in order for it to be produced in sufficient quantities, the vegan needs to move a lot. His lifestyle proves this too. Among the adherents of a vegetarian diet, there are many athletes who show the highest results, or people who simply cannot imagine their life without movement. And they regularly make treks in mountains and deserts, run hundreds of kilometers, etc.
Of course, in the body of a meat-eater, lactate is also actively produced. But its excess, according to J. Somero and P. Hochachk, researchers from the United States, is used “to improve the functioning of the brain, heart, lungs and skeletal muscles.” This statement debunks the myth that the brain feeds only from the expense. By the way, it is oxidized almost 10 times slower than lactate, which is always preferred by brain cells. It is worth noting that the brain of a meat-eater consumes up to 90% of lactic acid. Vegan, on the other hand, cannot “boast” of such indicators, since all his lactic acid, when it enters the bloodstream, immediately goes into the muscles.
Another important fact is oxygen. In an ordinary person, he takes an active part in the oxidation of lactate in the brain. This does not happen for a vegan. As a result, his oxygen demand decreases, breathing slows down at first, and then rebuilds in such a way that the use of lactate by the brain becomes impossible. M. Ya. Zholondza writes about this in detail in the publication “Vegetarianism: Riddles and Lessons, Benefits and Harms.”
They say that vegetarians simply cannot lead a calm lifestyle, since the body itself pushes them to move, provoking outbursts of anger, which are accompanied by reflex tension of all muscle groups. And they cite the example of famous vegetarians, whose frankly aggressive behavior often surprised eyewitnesses. These are Isaac Newton, Leo Tolstoy, Adolf Hitler, etc.
Summing up all of the above, I would like to note that it applies not only to vegetarians, but also to meat-eaters, if the amount of calories they consume is no more than 1200 kcal per day. At the same time, a properly composed diet with the right amount of nutrients that regularly enter the body eliminates all problems even for avid supporters of a vegetarian diet.
Dangers of vegetarianism for women
Studies by US scientists have shown that strict vegetarianism provokes the strongest hormonal disruptions in women. This is due to an imbalance in the balance of thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which entails a decrease in the production of estradiol and progesterone by the ovaries.
As a result, menstrual irregularities, malfunctions, or hypothyroidism may occur, as well as a slowdown in metabolic processes. At the same time, women often have flabbiness and dryness of the skin, swelling, a decrease in heart rate, constipation, and a violation of thermoregulation (when a person cannot get warm).
But the most interesting thing is that they all disappear almost immediately after the inclusion of animal proteins in the diet – dairy foods, fish and eggs. By the way, it is inappropriate to replace them with soy, since the substances contained in it – isoflavones – in large quantities can cause infertility and provoke excess weight gain against the background of slowing down the thyroid gland.
Like any other, a vegetarian diet with an improperly formulated diet or an absolute rejection of animal foods can be harmful. To prevent this from happening, you need to diversify your menu as much as possible, be sure to include all the gifts of nature in it. Also, do not forget about its contraindications. It is undesirable for children and adolescents, pregnant and lactating women.