“I’m vegetarian because it is the healthier option”

In the modern society health is becoming increasingly important, especially as we are more aware of health-related problems such as obesity, diabetes, etc. We strive to be healthy in order to live a better quality of life. Recently my friend Danielle who is vegetarian said, “I’m vegetarian because it is the healthier option”. Being a meat eater, I decided to find out whether this is the truth. 

Firstly, many non-vegetarians argue – “Where do vegetarians get their protein from”. Protein is essential for the body as it is needed for growth and repair. The fact that the body doesn’t store protein makes the need for a diet to contain protein extremely crucial. To put it simply, lentils are a good protein source for vegetarians. However, animal protein is different to vegetable protein. Protein is broken down into amino acids. There are many different types of proteins most of which are required by the body. Meat, fish, eggs, dairy contain amino acids that the body needs as opposed to plant amino acids which doesn’t contain all of this. Although, studies found high plant protein diets are said to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. 

On the other hand, certain types of meat are linked with higher risk of health problems such as disease. Multiple studies have found processed red meat to be a contributing factor for cardiovascular disease. Red meat increases cholesterol levels which increases the potential risk of diseases. Although some people have pointed out that these studies don’t take into consideration the ‘type’ of cut as lean cuts of meat are far healthier than a fatty cut of meat. Furthermore, many also argue that unprocessed meat is a better alternative to processed meat as the risks are lower. 

Overall, I think that both vegetarians and non-vegetarians can be healthy or unhealthy, simultaneously. I think having a balanced diet is best and is key to a healthy life. Meat can be made healthy therefore I don’t think being vegetarian significantly impacts health if as a non-vegetarian you are eating vegetables frequently enough. The main question, however, remains unanswered as there always seems to be one study that contradicts another, but I have learnt that a balanced diet is a guarantee to a healthy life.   

Does Being Vegetarian Make You Healthier? by Suhani Anand, Newstead Wood School

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