090719 We asked five experts: is vegetarianism healthier?

090719 We asked five experts: is vegetarianism healthier?

March 3, 2019 2.14pm EST

Vegetarianism is on the rise in Australia, as many vegetarians will gladly tell you. While many people who eschew meat products do so for the sake of animals and the environment, we’re starting to learn more about the negative health effects of meat and the benefits from eating a plant-based diet.

We asked five experts if a vegetarian diet is healthier.

Four out of five experts said yes

Dr. Rosemary Stanton replied:

Yes – if you’re comparing a well-chosen vegetarian diet with a typical Australian junk-food diet. Any comparison depends on the whole diet. A well-chosen vegetarian diet has a good selection of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Including eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt (or calcium-fortified plant alternatives) make it especially easy to meet nutrient needs. By contrast, the typical Australian diet, high in meat and junk foods, and low in wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts and seeds is much less healthy and plays a prime role in many diet-related health problems.

Claims a vegetarian diet lacks iron, protein or zinc are unfounded. It’s true those who follow a vegetarian diet have lower levels of iron stored as ferritin, but the levels are in the normal range and do not equate to a deficiency. And with ferritin, more is not better. It must be said, however, that plant-based diet recommendations from the World Health Organisation and others do not preclude including small amounts of appropriately-sourced seafood, poultry or a small amount of red meat.

To read all of the responses go here: https://theconversation.com/we-asked-five-experts-is-vegetarianism-healthier-112133

 

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