The veg vs non-veg health debate
April 13, 2009
The perpetual debate that is waged about the inadequacies of a vegetarian diet versus the hazards of a non-vegetarian diet is both accurate and wrong on a number of levels and if one really looks at both groups of people and their eating habits, there is room for healthy living in both.
As human beings, we are creatures of comfort, habit and stubbornness. People take ill from time to time by consuming an inadequate diet, overeating or from leading sedentary lives.
Did you notice the missing key words in the sentence above? There is no mention of the 'vegetarian' or 'non-vegetarian' -- it is a rule that applies to both categories.
It's not the cultural or religious beliefs we hold, but the actual diet and the food we consume that is pulling the rug out from under our feet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that death from diabetes and heart disease alone costs India about $210 billion every year, and it is expected to increase to $335 billion in the next decade.
So the average person is more likely to die from a lifestyle disease then from an automobile accident, or infectious disease such as pneumonia.
Now to the crux of the debate, the wholesomeness of both these categories. For the most part, we can be divided into two rough categories:
The veggie lovers
The non-veggie lovers
A vegetarian diet (veggie-lovers) is one wherein a person consumes all types of plant products along with milk and dairy, but completely avoids consuming all meat and animal-derived foods and by-products. This includes avoiding contact with these products as well.
A non-vegetarian diet (non-veggie lovers) includes all plant foods as well as foods and by-products derived from animals like meat, poultry, fish etc.
Vegetarians and their diets
Nearly every significant study carried out on people who are vegetarians has shown the following:
Vegetarians are at an increased risk of: