Vegetarian: Benefits and drawbacks await those who adopt this lifestyle

Emma Cole, Staff Writer


Foods such as carrots, peppers, and others can prevent nutrient deficiency. A variety of foods are available at local stores.
Photo by Emma Cole
Foods such as carrots, peppers, and others can prevent nutrient deficiency. A variety of foods are available at local stores.

Around five percent of Americans call themselves vegetarians because they don’t consume meat for reasons such as morals, religion, or health. Both positive and negatives effects come from a standard vegetarian diet; however, for some, vegetarianism may not be the correct choice to make.

Without chicken or steak as a protein source, vegetarians or vegans may have a hard time getting needed protein. Good sources of protein include beans, chickpeas, and tofu.

Although many people think pork or hamburgers are tasty, that doesn’t mean it is always the best when it comes to health. Vegetarians tend to live longer than someone who regularly eats large amounts of meat because certain red meats can slow down immune systems, clog arteries, and sometimes cause food-borne illness or heart disease. By switching to a vegetarian diet from regularly eating large amounts of meat, one could live at a lower risk of heart diseases caused by poultry or fish, according to

Meat such as crab, chicken and others make up ten percent of an average American’s spending money at grocery stores. By changing to a vegetarian, people tend to save around seven hundred dollars a year in individual spending bills, according to

Each day, an average adult woman needs forty-six grams of protein a day and an average adult man needs fifty-six grams of protein a day, according to The main source of protein comes from meat, but eating certain foods such as dairy or eggs can keep vegetarians healthy.

Since vegans don’t eat dairy or eggs, so they may have a harder time finding protein. Beans and whole grains serve as their main source of protein. Even though finding foods containing protein could be hard for a vegan, the right foods have a lot of protein.

While a vegetarian or a vegan diet has advantages, they also have disadvantages.

Meat contains protein that can’t be substituted in a vegetarian diet. Even though there are other sources of proteins, those foods can have high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, and those foods don’t normally contain as much protein as meat.

Nutrient deficiency could happen to vegans or vegetarians if they don’t eat proper foods. Around ninety-two percent of vegans become deficient in needed nutrients, according to

Going out to eat at a restaurant as a vegetarian limits meal choices. For example, there may not be many options for a vegetarian, which limits meal choices. A vegetarian may end up stuck with only one meal choice every time they go to that restaurant.

Seventh grader Ryan Chapman said she would probably only last a few days without meat because she “loves meat too much”. Chapman said she would be worried about becoming deficient in needed nutrients if she were to become a vegetarian.

Seventh grader Marie Schlaf said she didn’t like the idea of never eating meat, and she was worried about not keeping a healthy weight. Schlaf also said she wasn’t worried about any heart diseases because she doesn’t eat meat in large amounts. She said she wouldn’t last more than a day without eating meat.

“I’m not that concerned about heart disease because I normally don’t eat a lot of meat,” said Schlaf.