Should People Become Vegetarian?
ShouldPeople Become Vegetarian?
Vegetarianisminvolves refraining from eating meat (poultry, seafood, and red meator flesh from any animal) and may sometimes include refraining fromconsuming animal by-products (Graimes, 2015). Various types ofvegetarians include lacto-ovo-vegetarian who consumes both eggs anddairy products while Ovo-vegetarian consumes eggs but not meat ordairy products. Lacto-vegetarian consumes dairy products but not eggswhile vegans do not consume either egg, dairy products or any animalproducts (Walters, 2013). Various reasons will make individualsbecome vegetarians. Firstly, may abstain from taking meat productsbased on their ethical, cultural or religious beliefs. Secondly,abstinence may result from health-related, economic or personalpreference. This essay seeks to present various arguments in favorand against vegetarianism and evaluate whether vegetarian diet shouldbe adopted.
Peoplewho choose to become vegetarian for health related reasons areinterested in living healthier lives, and thus they live longer.According to Labarthe (2014), it is estimated that “more than 70%of all the diseases are related to human dietary intake.” Avegetarian diet has been found to lessen the risks of chronicdiseases including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronarydisease and specific types of cancer such as lung, breast, stomach,esophageal, colon and prostate (Labarthe, 2014). The argument is thatto prevent such diseases, individuals should refrain from consumingmeat or meat by-products. For instance, a low-fat diet has been foundto reduce the advancement of coronary artery and cardiovasculardisease. More than one million individuals die every year as a resultof cardiovascular disease thus making it the prominent causes ofdeath throughout the United States. Vegetarians have lower mortalityrate arising from cardiovascular disease compared to no vegetarians(Graimes, 2015). The reason is that vegetarians do not ingestcholesterol from animal fat, but instead they ingest moreantioxidant-rich food and fiber.
However,there is the argument that individuals need fat so that they can behealthy (Smith, 2016). Fundamentally, lack of fats can lead todepression and insufficient energy and thus lead to brainhemorrhaging that could result in suicidal thoughts or other mentalinstabilities. According to Smith (2016), it is noted that “insteadof having low-fat content in the body, the best thing is moderatingfat intake and having regular exercises.” Although such an argumentcould be viable, it has also been established that animal meatcontains cholesterol while fruits, grains, vegetables and all theother foods from plants do not include any amount cholesterol. Forinstance, the following meat or meat products contains the specificamount of cholesterol. Additionally, Graimes (2015), confirmed that“milk contains 4mg, Yogurt 29mg, Butter 11, Beef 78mg, Chicken 85mgwhile Pork contains 85mg.” The cell membrane of the cell containscholesterol, and thus it is found in large quantities in animaltissues. When Cholesterol is consumed, it is absorbed into the bodythrough the normal body processes and could end up on the walls ofthe arteries. Clogging of arteries with cholesterol leads to decreasein diameter of the arteries hindering continues blood flow (Labarthe,2014). Individuals can consume vegetables and fruits such as nuts,coconuts, and other fruits which do not have cholesterol and cansupplement body fats.
Therehave been numerous statistical studies and comparative andrelationship vegetarianism and longevity. According to Walters,(2013), ratios of the mortality rate of consistent meat eaters, fisheaters and vegetarians were found to be 1.0, 8.2 and 8.4respectively. Although there were expected errors and other variablessuch as the nature of the diseases that lead to death, it was foundthat non-vegetarians had 24% higher mortality rate fromcardiovascular related diseases compared to vegetarians (Labarthe,2014). People who take in saturated fat have more disability in theirold age and decreased life span compared to individuals who abstainfrom these products. Hamilton (2012) found that Okinawa residents inJapan resolve to consumption of the diet with “low-calorie,unrefined carbohydrates, fiber-rich food, soy, and vegetables.”Accordingly, they have a longer life expectancy compared to otherJapanese citizens. Animal products like saturated fats clogarteries, slow down the immune system and destroy energy. Similarly,meat consumer experiences increased sexual, cognitive dysfunctionwhen still in their younger age. The reason is that cells of thebrain and important sexual organs are deprived of accessing enoughoxygen due to insufficient flow of blood in the arteries (Labarthe,2014). Consuming more vegetables result from intake of more fibersthat are known to enhance excretion. Meat does not contain fibers,and hence individuals taking meat have high chances of hemorrhoidsand constipation compared to vegetarians.
Anotherargument against vegetarian is the fact that humans would not getenough proteins if they were to avoid intake of meat and other meatproducts (Smith, 2016). The assertion is that plant cannot offer thenecessary amount of amino acids that the body requires for surviving.For instance, the body needs about sixty grams of protein in a givenday. Nevertheless, a sizable meal containing beans, edamame, nuts,and spirulina could provide the same amount protein if they were tobe served to an individual in a day (Labarthe, 2014). Other valuablenon-meat foods that contain protein include lentils, peanuts, wildrice, chickpeas, almonds and cashews among others. There is thepostulation that meat is delicious, it does not harm other animalsand that the primates (animals with closer evolutionary history tohumans) continue to consume meat. Although these arguments are validfrom their outset, the proposed outcomes that are associated withtaking meat especially the relationship between meat products andavailability of cholesterol is more harmful than the fact that meatcould be delicious (Smith, 2016). At the same time, increases in thenumber and severity of such conditions as obesity and therelationship between longevity and vegetarianism may not be comparedto the fact that meat is taken by primates.
Individuals’postulates that more land may be required to grow plants that arerich in protein. Niman (2014) indicates that to producing “1kilogram of meat, 7 kilograms of grains are needed,” and thus lessland could be used to produce more proteins compared to when proteinsare produced directly from plants. Conversely, this postulation canbe countered by the fact that sustainable production of meat whichinvolves grazing freely also requires a significant amount of land.Enclosures may be cheap, but they have side effects. Meat intakecould be avoided to spare animals because according to statistics,more than twelve billion animals are consumed annually (Niman, 2014).Most of the animals are raised in enclosures and fed on high caloriesgrains without roaming freely and eating grass as it used to be inthe past.
Tomake them susceptible to health conditions that result from this typeof feeding and enclosure, they are injected with stained antibioticsbecause some of them cannot turn around. According to Niman (2014),these animals are not sufficiently protected from such inhumaneconditions. If less food from the harmful meat is consumed, animalsmay be saved from mistreatment from individuals who raise them. Themeat industry is also having the huge negative impact on theenvironment especially because animal waste and chemicals fromfactory runoff are responsible for more than 173 000 miles of streamsand river pollution (Niman, 2014). Other chemicals come frompesticide and fertilizers used to grow corn that is fed to animals aswell as chemicals from animal facilities. Others products such asmeat products carcinogenic substances and heavy metals such ascadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead are among other harmful substancesthat may be removed from human diets.
Obesityis one of the most severe health challenges in that it has referredto as chronic disease by the Obesity Society and Endocrine Society(Stephens et al., 2016). It is now factual that the condition hasbecome a national epidemic that can no longer be referred to as aweight problem. According to NHANES statistics, nearly a third of theAmerican adults have obesity. Essentially Watson (2014), asserts that“about 13 million children and 78.6 million adults are battlingemotional and health impacts of obesity” in their day to day life.More than 17% of all American teens and children are considered obeseout of which about 5.8% of these teens and children are extremelyobese. Obesity is caused by intake of food with a large amount ofsaturated fat from meat and other processed food (Stephens et al.,2016). Moreover, obesity has been linked to higher incidences ofvarious diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, and cardiovasculardisease. Obesity is a costly condition in modern times. It has alsobeen established that the indirect and direct cost of obesity hasbeen estimated to be valued ranging from of $150 to $ 210 billion.
Accordingto Walters (2013), Sausalito research institute based in Californiafound that “obese individuals who took vegetarian diet were foundto have lost and the average of twenty-four pounds within the firstone year” and stabilized their weight in five years. Stephens etal. (2016) postulated that “medical challenges and unhealthy dietare also among the contributing factors because the diet with highcalories tends to have high weight gain.” Various solutions havebeen offered in an attempt to control the prevalence of obesity thatparents may emphasis include the following. Emphasizing workableeating arrangement such as food diary, consuming food with high fibercontent and more filling foods and removing food that has been linkedto obesity from the fridge. Furthermore, food rich in cholesterol andfats should be avoided since they increase the number of calories inthe body (Stephens et al., 2016). Stress management, hygiene,improved sleep, exercise, physical activity and social support canalso be useful in both preventive as well as curative measures of theobesity epidemic.
Accordingto Hamilton (2012), vegetarians menu may consist of oatmeal, beantacos, spaghetti, fruit salad, meatless lasagna, vegetable pies,French toast, peanut butter, pizza, macaroni, eggplant parmesan.Vegans could consume curries, tahini, chickpeas, barley, lentils,kidney beans, wheat germ, tofu, bulgur, kiwi fruit, nutritionalyeast, and carob. Moreover, tempeh, millet, collards, falafel, wheatflour, sprouts, tamari, kale, carrot juice, rice cakes, split peas,soy burgers, papaya and nut loaf among others also part of the diet(Walters, 2013).
Conclusivelyvegetarianism entails abstinence from meat and sometimes from meatproducts. The most valid arguments in support of vegetarians are theones that are related to the health of individuals. More than 70% ofall the diseases are caused or are related to human dietary intake.Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary diseases among otherconditions derives their causes from by high fat intake associatedwith meat. Although the lack of fat can lead to low energy anddepression, availability of cholesterol in fat causes more damage bycausing cardiovascular-related illnesses. Similarly, fat could alsobe obtained from plants which do not contain cholesterol. There is arelationship between vegetarianism and longevity showing thatvegetarians live longer. Although meat can provide more protein thanplants, several combinations can also provide enough protein. Someargue that animals require less land while other disagrees. However,the sustainable production also shows that more land is required forraising animals. Animal production leads to pollution while lowconsumption of meat could reduce the dangers posed by increases inthe cases of obesity. Correspondingly, vegetarian menu in localrestaurant contains useful and healthy food such as inventive,healthy sandwiches and salads other valuable food substances. Andthus, the right question to ask is “why haven’t everyone not gonevegetarian?”
Graimes,N. (2015). Thepart-time vegetarian: Flexible recipes to go (nearly) meat-free.London: Nourish
Hamilton,J. (2012). Vegetarianism.Detroit Mich.: Greenhaven Press.
Labarthe,D. (2014). Epidemiologyand prevention of cardiovascular diseases: A global challenge.Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Niman,N. H. (2014). Defendingbeef: The case for sustainable meat production.White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Smith,A. F. (2016). Acritique of the moral defense of vegetarianism.Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan,
Stephens,M. B., In Heidelbaugh, J. J., Cassidy, O., Emerick, J., Hutchinson,J., Kelley, C. P., Rehrig, S. T., Spieker, E. A. (2016). Obesitymanagement in primary care. Philadelphia: Elsevier.
Walters,K. S. (2013). Vegetarianism:A guide for the perplexed.London: Continuum.
Watson,R. R. (2014).Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of abdominal obesity.Burlington: Elsevier Science.
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