Did you know that there is pretty much no evidence showing that being a vegetarian will protect you from cancer, heart disease and other health problems?
In fact, you need fats to be healthy because every cell in our body contains cholesterol and fat. Our hormones and neurotransmitters are made of cholesterol – only found in animal fats. A human brain is 60% fat, with over 25% of that being cholesterol.
Did you know that the human brain is about two-thirds fat? Fats, minerals, and amino acids found in animal products are essential for the production of neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and neuron membranes, as well as neurotransmission.
Our brain consists of Both DHA and arachidonic acid (AA). This is why low-fat diets lead to depression, and anxiety. Staying away from animal-based nutrients alters the function of neurotransmitters in your brain that play an important role in mood and behavior. Deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to food addiction, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, adrenal fatigue, low blood sugar, chronic fatigue and much more.
B12 vitamin deficiency
A common myth suggest that is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources. Wrong!
B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element (cobalt). Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient involved in the development of red blood cells, maintenance of nerves and normal brain function. Cobalamin is produced in the gut of animals. It’s the only vitamin we can’t obtain from plants or sunlight. This means that vegetarians and vegans are at risk for B12 deficiency.
In the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, German researchers tracked 174 apparently healthy people living in Germany and the Netherlands.
They found that 92% of the vegans they studied — those who ate the strictest vegetarian diet, which shuns all animal products, including milk and eggs — had vitamin B12 deficiency. But two in three people who followed a vegetarian diet that included milk and eggs as their only animal foods also were deficient. Only 5% of those who consumed meats had vitamin B12 deficiency.
Our body is unable to make vitamin B12. Thus, it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. According to a Harvard Health Medical report published in January of 2013, B12 is essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body. Our bodies do need B12 for cell metabolism, making DNA, creating red blood cells, and more.
Fat-soluble vitamins A and D Deficiency
One of the main problem with a vegetarian diet is fat soluble vitamins A and D deficiency. These important vitamins are found almost exclusively in animal food such as seafood, organ meats, eggs and dairy products.
The vitamin A from animal sources is called retinol, while plant source vitamin A is carotenoids, such as beta carotene.
You body can easily utilize vitamin A from animal sources . Whereas, the vitamin A from plant sources must first be converted to retinol to be useful in the body.
Vitamin A is responsible for strong immune system, eyesight, skin, and fertility. Vitamin D regulates calcium metabolism, regulates immune function, reduces inflammation and protects against some forms of cancer.
You body and your heart requires complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes. A 2010 meta-analysis found “that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”
Having said that, I only recommend that you choose organic, grass fed meats over feedlot meats. Grass fed meats are more healthful because they have nutritional characteristics similar to wild animals.
Stop denying yourself essential healthy fats and live a little. Your body and brain will thank you.
Enig, Mary, Ph.D. Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol. Bethesda Press, 2000.
Guyenet, Stephan. Does Dietary Saturated Fat Increase Blood Cholesterol? An Informal Review of Observational Studies. January 13, 2011. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-dietary-saturated-fat-increase.html
Siri-Tarino, Patty, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. January 13, 2010, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725 Am J Clin Nutr January 2010. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract