Vegetarians & Mental Health

I know a lot of Vegetarians and Vegans and the majority of them are healthy, happy and ridiculously strong. On the contrary, I also know several that struggle with mental illness, So I wanted to see if there was a connection between Not eating meat and Mental illness.

Findings – 

9,668 men who were partners of pregnant women took the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Seven per cent of the vegetarians obtained scores indicating severe depression compared to four per cent of non-vegetarians. 

longitudinal study of 14,247 young women found that 30 per cent of vegetarians and semi-vegetarians had experienced depression in the previous 12 months, compared to 20 per cent of non-vegetarian women. (Baines, 2007)

French researchers In a 2018 study of 90,000 adults examined the impact of giving up various food groups on depressive symptoms among meat-eaters, vegans, true vegetarians, and vegetarians who ate fish. 

The rate of depression increased with each food group that was given up. People who had given up at least three of four animal-related food groups (red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy) were at nearly two-and-a-half times greater risk to suffer from depression. 

A study of 140 women found that the odds of depression were twice as great in women consuming less than the recommended intake of meat per week. (The researchers also found that women eating more than recommended amount were also likely to be depressed.) 

These studies are confirming that Non-meat eaters are more likely to experience depression than meat-eaters.

A few possible reasons for this.

Just because you have given up eating meat does not mean you are healthy, You can be Vegan/Vegetarian and still eat Junk food. 

Dr Jade Teta calls them ‘Starchetairans’ because instead of eating lots of fruit and veg they eat high starchy foods which can disrupt blood sugar and cause mental health issues (Read Your Head Is Not An Island.) 

Along with eating high starchy foods they might not be getting enough variety of foods, Since not all plant products contain all 9 essential ammino acids for example and other nutrients that they would get from eating a variety of fresh food, could also be another explanation of this.

Another reason that could be external to whats going on in the body as pointed out in Phycology today is that Vegans and Vegetarians could be struggling with mental illness 

‘Could be the result of moral commiKimmelAs Lori Marino, executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy wrote on Facebook, vegetarians and vegans are more aware of the cruelties of the world and this is more depressing than living in a state of ignorant bliss.’

And like I’ve stated I know lots of Vegans who are fit, healthy and happy, and there are also loads of Meat eaters who struggle with mental illnesses in the world  

A 2012 study published in the journal Appetite examined the mental health of 486 vegans, vegetarians, semi-vegetarian, and non-vegetarians. These researchers found no meaningful differences in depression scores between the groups. (Here is the full text.)

Both meat and non-meat-eaters can all benefit from eating a wide variety of fruit and veg and lowering their intake of higher starchy carbs and sugar,

If you would like more information on possible causes for mental illnesses you can get my ebook below –

Main Reference –

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