Vegetarianism is the avoidance of eating any type of meat.

A vegetarian diet focuses on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. There is no single type of vegetarian diet. Instead, vegetarian eating patterns usually fall into the following groups:

  • The vegan diet, which excludes all meat and animal products
  • The lacto vegetarian diet, which includes plant foods plus dairy products
  • The lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which includes both dairy products and eggs

People who follow vegetarian diets can get all the nutrients they need. However, they must be careful to eat a wide variety of foods to meet their nutritional needs. Nutrients vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.


According to some, vegetarianism is less healthy than eating meat. Here is one comment from a paleo diet perspective:

Meat contributes greatly to our overall health and contains many nutrients that cannot be obtained in any amount from plants.

  • Creatine creates energy reserves in muscle and brain tissue.

  • Carnosine is an antioxidant that protects against degeneration.

  • DHA and EPA (the active forms of omega-3) convert ALA (plant omega 3) to an active form.

  • Vitamin B12 helps make DNA, prevents certain types of anemia, and contributes to the health of nerve cells.

  • The myth of saturated fat being bad for health has been debunked. Studies have shown that saturated fat has a greater effect on raising the good cholesterol than it does on the bad (1). There is no conclusive evidence that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.

  • Meat is a complete protein source with a higher biological value.

  • Meat is a good source of the difficult to get vitamin D, contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, and the minerals zinc, selenium, and iron.

  • Humans are omnivores and thrive best on animal and plant sources combined.


Here are some reasons a pro-vegetarian website gives to avoid red meat, with the unstated implication to other meat as well.

  1. Red Meat May Increase Alzheimer’s Disease

  2. Red Meat Can Cause Cardiovascular Disease

  3. Your Risk of Colon Cancer Goes Up With Your Red Meat Consumption

  4. Lots of Beef –> Type 2 Diabetes

  5. Mad Cow Disease. Obviously.

  6. Meat Just Ain’t What It Used To Be… no one really knows what a combination of several chemicals, hormones and antibiotics will do to you.


As can be seen, this controversy is really too broad. Supposing red meat was unhealthy, does this mean all meat is unhealthy? Also, what should matter more, the type of food or the quality of the food? Organic grass-fed beef is a long way from what you would get at McDonalds.

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