The Unhealthy Effects of Vegetarianism on the Human Body | Teen Ink

The Unhealthy Effects of Vegetarianism on the Human Body

May 31, 2022
By ym26 BRONZE, Parsippany, New Jersey
ym26 BRONZE, Parsippany, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

There is something that can change a person’s life in both short term and long term aspects. It has the power to control the future of one’s life to the extent of when and potentially even how they die. Surprisingly to most people, this all-powerful factor is actually quite obvious, it being health. One of the most impactful aspects that affect the health of a person is their diet. Consequently, the most popular reason why people choose to take on special and specific diets is to attempt to improve their health. One of these diets is vegetarianism, the practice of not eating meat, but it is not as effective as the public may think. A vegetarian diet is much worse than a healthy meat inclusive diet specifically due to the unhealthy effects of the lack of meat.

Foremost, a vegetarian diet lacks certain nutrients that the body needs to live healthfully. The article, “Are There Downsides to Vegetarian Diets?” written by Kathleen Doheny,  contains research specifically about the negative effects that a vegetarian diet has on the human body. For example, “Choline is a nutrient that’s important for brain health and other functions. It’s found in meat and poultry, and the body can't make all that humans need”(Doheny). As evidenced, not including meat and poultry in one’s diet will cause a deficiency of choline in their body, and synonymously, vegetarians do not eat those specific foods. This means that vegetarians are more prone to problems and conditions originating from the brain than people who eat meat. The article also states that, “ recent news has focused on what could be bad about vegetarian diets and more stringent vegan plans, including reports of stroke risk, harms to brain health, hair loss, and depression.”(Doheny). Ultimately, if the diet one chooses to adopt is not healthful, there is no point at all to continue to follow it. Accordingly, since vegetarianism is a root cause to the effects listed previously specifically due to the cause of not incorporating meat in the diet, why shall one take the risk of adopting the diet? 

Moving on, some people may choose to use potentially dangerous supplements in order to supplement the absent nutrients which they are not gaining on without consuming meat. The United States Food and Drug Administration, also known as the F.D.A., manages almost all consumables that people are legally allowed to purchase. In contrast, a current publication, “What You Need to Know About Dietary Supplements” released by the FDA, formally disclaims that, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed”(What). This disclaimer indicates that the FDA is legally unable to test if supplements are safe nor if they even function as advertised. Which means that there is a possibility that certain supplements that a vegetarian uses as a substitute for eating meat could actually be either unsafe or unefficient. In addition, the reading goes on to state that, “Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects in the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and hurt or complicate your health”(What). So, if a person who follows a vegetarian diet decides to use supplements to supply themselves with the nutrients that they lack, there is a large possibility that they are unintentionally actually consuming something which harms them. 

In reality, situations like the one stated previously exist and people have suffered the ramifications of adopting vegetarianism. As an example, there is the case of Kate Mulvey, a woman who decided to attempt the slightly less inclusive form of vegetarianism, veganism, with the popular motives of wanting clearer skin and improved health. Unexpectedly for Mulvey, this diet would have the inverse effect on her health. She wrote the passage, “I Tried to Improve My Health Through Veganism, but It Made My Life so Much Worse” which documented the effects of the diet on her body. It discloses that the diet did slightly improve the health of her skin, however it also discloses that when she was, “following a vegan diet..[she]... was not only thin and gaunt but…[she]...permanently lost…[her]...hearing in one ear”(Mulvey). If a diet can cause the dysfunction of one of the most important parts of the body and cause the loss of one of the five main senses of a human, logically it should not be a diet that people should partake in to improve their health. Thereafter, as Mulvey continued to discuss all of the unhealthy effects that veganism had on her body, she brought up that she had “ become dangerously anemic and…[her]...lymphocytes (killer immune cells) were also on the…[low]... side”(Mulvey). So, Mulvey did not only lose her hearing but also developed not just a single, but multiple deficiencies, which, as shown, are all due to her attempt in veganism which is quite similar to vegetarianism. The switch to a vegetarian diet was part of Mulvey’s endeavor to better her health and skin, but instead had to face the inverse effect and repercussions of the unhelpful diet to her health.

In conclusion, a vegetarian diet is much worse than a healthy meat-inclusive diet. Despite those who follow vegetarianism in hopes of certain improvements in their appearance and skin, the effects most definitely prove that vegetarian diets are mostly useless compared to diets with meat inclusive diets. Problems in health that affect longevity of life outweigh temporary problems in one’s current appearance, so the most popular point which is why many people lead a vegetarian diet is rendered irrelevant when faced with the unhealthy short and long term effects of the diet. Going forward, if one desires to attempt to better their skin and health, they should choose to eat a beneficial well-rounded diet to keep themselves healthy, and refrain from vegetarian based diets, for the possibility of unfortunately facing similar effects to the ones faced by Kate Mulvey and many others.

The author's comments:

This was for my 8th grade argumentative writing project, enjoy!

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