Where’s the Beef

I came across an article today, with above title, in a women’s health magazine issued in the Middle East. As a plant eater I am always interested what new research is out with regard to healthy nutrition and balanced diets.

The article tries to show that a meat-less diet can cause mental deterioration. Two studies are mentioned from Australia and Germany, respectively, however, the source was not mentioned in detail, so I can not read the original study. But according to this article, the Australian research comes to the conclusion that vegetarians are less optimistic about the future than meat eaters. Sounds very scientific, doesn’t it. Vegetarians are also 18 percent more likely to report depression and 28 percent more likely to suffer panic attacks and anxiety. To be honest, just reading this article as a plant-eater makes me very depressed!

And the German research apparently supports this conclusion, finding that “vegetarians were 15 percent more prone to depressive conditions and twice as likely to suffer anxiety disorders.” At least a psychiatrist points out that this is a hen-egg situation, i.e., we do not know if the vegetarian diet causes depression and anxiety, or, if people who are predisposed to these mental conditions, lean towards vegetarianism.

The ground breaking conclusion of the article is that “food is a factor in mental health”. Therefore, any change in diet should be done gradually, and a nutritionist or doctor consulted first. At the end, the article adds that it is possible to adjust to, even thrive on, a meat-free existence.

I find articles like these just confuse readers. Often I find contradicting articles in one and the same issue! On one page for example a study is mentioned that supports eating greek yogurt and then a few pages onwards there is a two page spread on how dairy is messing with your body. I always question the motive behind such research and articles – who has funded it and benefits the most from its result? As with everything in life, ask questions, form your own opinion and be happy with whatever you do (or eat, or drink, or exercise etc.). I, personally, have never felt healthier or fitter since following a plant-based diet and am not more or less depressed than before.

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