New survey reveals nutritional gap
A new survey has revealed that many vegetarians aren’t receiving all the necessary vitamins and nutrients that they need, with just under a quarter admitting they believe they are malnourished. Furthermore, of this quarter, the majority confessed that they were suffering with consequences from their diet.
In spite of the argument that there are plenty of alternatives, many vegetarians are not receiving adequate nutrition due to their meat-free diet. The research has revealed that just under a quarter of vegetarians confessed to researchers that their diets do not provide adequate nutrition; with protein the most likely nutrient to be lacking, followed by iron and Vitamin B12. Furthermore, it was found that 79% of these vegetarians have been suffering the consequences when it comes to their health.
The study looked at 2,498 British vegetarians, all of whom revealed to researchers that they have been vegetarian for at least 2 years. Initially, all respondents were asked about their motivations behind becoming a vegetarian, to which the most popular reason was ‘for animal welfare reasons’ (91%). Further reasons included not ‘trusting the quality/hygiene of meat’ (36%) and ‘pressures from family/partner’ (19%). 17% of the vegetarians polled stated that they opted out of eating meat because they felt that the vegetarian diet was ‘healthier’.
Next, all vegetarians taking part were asked, “Do you think you are malnutritioned due to your vegetarian diet i.e. lacking in any essential nutrients?”, to which 24% confessed that they thought they were, while the remaining 76% felt they were either not malnutritioned (61%) or that they were not sure (15%). When those who felt they were under nourished were asked what they thought was most lacking in their diet, the top answers were ‘protein’ (61%), ‘iron’ (58%) and ‘Vitamin B12’ (36%).
The same group were then asked if they had experienced any negative health effects due to malnutrition, to which 79% stated they had; with ‘a lack of energy’ (64%), ‘feeling faint’ (37%) and ‘headaches or migraines’ (26%) revealed as the most common side effects of a meat-free and malnutritioned diet.
All respondents who felt that they were suffering with malnutrition were asked if they had shared their concerns with anyone, including friends, family members or medical professionals. The majority of these (55%) stated that they had not, with 83% citing worries of being ‘lectured’ about being a vegetarian as the reason they held back.
The bottom line is that whilst vegetables do indeed offer an abundance of nutritional benefits, to rely souly on one food group is to put all your eggs in one baskets. This can make the maintainance of optimal health that little bit more challenging, especially without careful consideration and planning.