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Vegetarians Are Not Healthy And The Importance Of Dietary Protein

Tuesday, 06 March 2007

Are you a self righteous vegetarian? Are you holier than thou? Is it trendy within your (limited) circles to be a vego? Do you consider yourself healthy because you are a vego?

Then have I got some news for you. You are probably protein deficient, lacking essential amino acids, likely suffering vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Why? Because you jumped in without doing your homework.... 

First up let me say I am not bashing vegetarians who have done thier studies and have taken to vegetarianism in a sensible, healthy manner. This article is not for them, I admire anyone who takes their health seriously enough to take responsibility for it. Anyone who undertakes serious self studies for his health is on the right track.

I also respect those whose religions do not permit it, though the traditional diets of these people are well balanced and complete, even if they are fat heavy and lead to obesity. 

However I am meeting an increasing number of fools who are now vegetarian and righteous about it - somewhat like the reformed smoker who annoys all current smokers. You made you decision, OK, I have made mine. I do not try to shove a 500g juicy BBQ T-Bone steak down your throat. I don't want your "vegetarianism

Take for example a young lady I was friends with in Australia. She became vegetarian. Now she was cool. She only ate vegetarian things like potato chips (french fries for the Americans) and vegetarian pizza, yeah she was so cool and healthy now....

.... so healthy that she doubled in size in about 4 weeks. From a beautiful slim girl to a overweight, pasty, pimpled thing. All in the space of about 1 month - I could not believe it. In fact our friendship stopped soon after, I could not believe she thought she was doing the right thing when her body was falling apart before her eyes. 

Most vegetarians I meet (maybe just the vocal ones) are doing it because it is 'trendy' in their circles or they had some emotional guilt towards livestock. They do not generally do much study and then eat a ton of bad foods, in bad quantities and in bad mixes. Since they do not eat much protein then it means that they often eat more fats and sugars to satisfy their hunger cravings.... ingesting fat+sugar = you'll become a fat lump.

Proteins are also necessary for your bodies survival. There are a bunch of protein molecules that your body needs to ingest. These are called essential amino acidsin fact 9 of the 20 amino acids your body needs have to be ingested.

From the Northwestern University Website: 

Protein from animal sources (meat, fish, dairy products, egg white) is considered high biological value protein or a "complete" protein because all nine essential amino acids are present in these proteins. An exception to this rule is collagen-derived gelatin which is lacking in tryptophan.

Plant sources of protein (grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds) generally do not contain sufficient amounts of one or more of the essential amino acids. Thus protein synthesis can occur only to the extent that the limiting amino acids are available. These proteins are considered to have intermediate biological value or to be partially complete because, although consumed alone they do not meet the requirements for essential amino acids, they can be combined to provide amounts and proportions of essential amino acids equivalent to high biological proteins from animal sources.

Plants that are entirely lacking in essential amino acids are considered incomplete proteins or sources of low biological value protein. These sources include most fruits and vegetables. A low biological value means that it is difficult or impossible to compensate for insufficient amounts of essential amino acids by combining different sources as with partially complete proteins.

Now comes the fun part. If you have an essential amino acid deficiency your body your body needs to get the essentials aminos from somewhere - your body begins to cannabilise itself. This leads to a condition known as Protein-Energy Malnutrition (PEM)

PEM has the following clinical features: weight loss, diarrhea, loss of lean body mass, muscle weakness, depigmented hair and skin, pressure sores, and depressed immune function.

WOW! Healthy now aren't we?

Yes Mr. Pavlina I am talking to you. If you are going to spout off about Vegetarianism being healthy then have the common sense to research it and provide proper advice to people genuinely interested in their health. And YES protein is important, to think otherwise is plain stupid.

If you are a vegetarian then Protein-Energy Malnutrition is something you MUST be aware of and take steps to avoid or it WILL happen to you.

Now ask yourself, how many skinny, sickly vegetarians have you seen throughout your life? Now you know why.

And to those vegetarians that have watched their foods and mixed correctly and added things like yoghurt, eggs and fish because they knew what they were doing then congratulations, life as a real vegetarian isn't all potato chips and vegetarian pizzas. 

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