First let me say, without question, vegetables in general are good. I stand behind eating vegetables. I eat veggies; I encourage others to eat them… veggies for everyone! The purpose of this post is just to reiterate the idea that we all need to take the latest headlines (whether on TV, the newspaper, Social media and Blogs, even my own) with a grain of salt. 😉
The research paper I’m using as an example here concludes, “Adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment.”
That’s a pretty definitive statement. Most would read this summary and scoff, roll their eyes and call BS.
The point is that you can find research that will support any belief you have. There is research out there supporting everything from veganism to paleo diets, and everything in between. Even the most widely agreed upon statement of “vegetables are good” can, and is, contradicted with science. And it’s not “bad” science with tiny samples sizes, or short-term studies. The result of this study was from a survey given to 15,474 people aged 15 or older. It shows that the people who ate less saturated fat, less animal protein and more vegetables were “less healthy” by many measures of health.
An easy question to pose about how the results may have come to this conclusion is the question of why someone decided to become a vegetarian. Many people move to vegetarianism due to having a condition or disease that they believe cutting out meat will help them address, so the data becomes less easy to interpret. The vegetarian diet may not have caused their condition, but the subjects are labeled as less healthy on as they are currently on a vegetarian diet. It’s also quite possible the “meatatarians” aren’t as health conscious, and aren’t as diligent about going to the doctor, so they haven’t been formally diagnosed with any chronic conditions. None of this is spelled out in the research so it’d be short sighted to say vegetarians are less healthy due to eating more vegetables and less meat.
Be skeptical. Don’t believe everything you read. Ask questions, form your own opinion and do your own experiments. Try different foods and see what makes you feel best. People always ask, “what’s the best diet?” and the answer really is different for everyone, but as a general guideline, the simplest advice I can give is eat real food.