Ever since I decided to turned vegan in 2010 I do not even know how many times I have been asked this question: Are vegans healthier than meat eaters?
I have told people close to me the answer to this question a lot, but I have never told others according to having experienced both worlds myself.
So in this article I am going to answer this question by relating my true life story of both worlds ,being a meat eater and being a vegan.
I will talk about the pros and cons of each diet so that I will better educate you even if you are deciding whether it is worth it to change from one diet to the other.
Meat eater diet
To answer this question: “are vegans healthier than meat eaters,” it would be better to start by talking about where I started.
Firstly let me clear one thing up. When I am referring to a meat eater I am talking about an omnivore not a person eating only meat.
The meat eater group can vary in this regard including people who only eat certain kinds of meat and avoid others. This is why in this post I will be talking about any person who puts any animal flesh in his or her body.
It is estimated that 98% of the population eats meat and majority of these people eat red meat.
Positives of a meat eater-What benefits you
Let us look at the best aspects of a meat eater.
- Enough or high protein
The best thing about eating meat is that you almost do not even have to think whether you are consuming enough protein for your daily consumption.
I am sure that if you are reading here and you are a meat eater protein is not something you are constantly worrying about. In fact, I am sure you hardly look at the protein content on your foods.
The only time you would be conscious about your protein is when you are a body builder or you are consciously wanting to build muscles.
I know this because I was like this myself and it got to the point where I used to feel that I only needed to lift weights in order to build muscles (you see again I never thought of my protein consumptions).
Let’s look an example:
Meat eater protein content per 100 grams:
chicken breast/meat (30 grams), rice (2,7grams), salads(2 grams).
Total protein content is 34.7 grams
Vegan protein content per 100 grams
Tofu (8 grams),rice (2,7 grams),salads(2 grams)
Total protein content is 12.7 grams
If we look at the Recommended Protein Intake from Healthline which is 56 grams for an average man and 46 grams for an average female, you can see that within one meal the meat eater has nearly reached the required protein.
Assuming the above meal is breakfast this means by supper the meater would have long reached the required amount while the vegan probably has not reached 80% of the required protein intake.
I hope you get the point because this is the reasons most vegans complain about not having enough energy or protein.
- Vitamins are taken care of-No need to supplement
Vitamins were also taken care of in my body when I was a meat eater and this is something I am sure the majority of the meat eaters do not worry about, unless of course your doctor tells you otherwise.
- Can consume anything
The great benefit of this diet of course is that you can eat even the foods that vegans or vegetarians eat. You can eat red meat with loads of vegetables if you wanted to.
Negatives of the meat eaters-What affects you
Now let’s get into the negatives of this group of consumers and the reasons that made me change this diet or way of living.
- Can easily develop chronic disease.
When you eat a lot of red meat especially the fatty ones or just red processed meat for long time(like 5 times a week) this can affect you.
If you have read my story you know how I developed clogged heart arteries through the consumption of meat a lot.
Red meat, especially, has high mount of cholesterol and this over time is what causes long term chronic disease like heart disease or clogged arteries.
The red meat diet can also develop diabetes due to the fact that you tend to consume high amount of dairy products along with meat and sugary stuff.
The mix of all these foods tends to cause such chronic disease. The bad thing is that since you are spoiled with a lot of choices it is easy to develop any chronic disease by the improper balance of foods.
This is the reason I have seen a huge trend of athletes who have heart disease at a young age.
This is all due to the processes that are done to make meat like injecting animals with cheimcals to make them grow so they can be made into food.
So you can imagine the toxic substances that go in to your body by you constantly consuming meat or meat related foods.
- High sugar levels
If you have not noticed that many of the cakes or bars that are non-vegan tend to be filled with added and unnatural sugars to make the product have a longer shelf life or to taste better,
This is because companies know that meat eaters are not picky when it comes to their food.
This according to me makes it very unhealthy and toxic.
- More fatigue cases
The fact that you are eating meat combined with carbs like potato makes a person very fatigue and heavy without even realizing.
When I turned to vegan at first it was one of the worst period of my life because I literally had no idea how to tackle this diet.
This was because when I started there where very few products for vegan eating.
In fact when I turned vegan I did not know that I was following a vegan diet because I was eating foods that were not giving me chest pains since I was aiming to unclog heart arteries.
It was only later that I discovered I was following a vegan diet and this made things easier since I started knowing what foods to buy.
Luckily enough if you are one of those people contemplating on starting a vegan diet I have a vegan diet for beginners guide for you that you can read.
Now let me highlight the goods and bad you typically face as a vegan.
Positives of the vegans
Let’s look at the best aspects of a vegan diet:
- Helps unclog heart arteries and reverse heart disease.
Now this I have experienced personally and can vouch to the fact that the vegan diet can help make your heart be healthier since I used it to unclog my heart arteries.
This is due to the fact that you are not eating any unhealthy fats or bad cholesterol in your foods. More then that foods like tofu and greens are good for cleaning your heart arteries.
- Keeps you lighter
The majority of vegan foods are less fatty and have high fiber content which makes you feel fuller for long even if you had a small meal.
This is the reason why most people turn to the vegan diet to lose weight.
I personally started losing weight without even without trying and this was scaring at first but once I learnt to eat the right foods I was able to maintain a healthy body that I wanted.
- Natural sugar
When you eat vegan foods you are guaranteed to eat high amounts of fruits which have natural sugars and not refined sugar.
When compared to a typical meat eaters who are likely to eat made-up sugars that is why vegans have lower cases of diabetes.
- More hydration
Before I joined the vegan family it was hard to stick to drinking water regularly but ever since I became vegan it became natural to be hydrated.
This is because most of the foods are filled with water like the consumption of smoothies and fruits.
Negatives of the vegans
- Protein content becomes a problem
Most vegans complain more about not getting enough protein in their diet and this is a huge problem to beginner vegans.
The only thing is that these vegans have not learnt about the right foods because you still get many weight lifters who are vegans.
- High risk of cancer and mental illnesses
According to a study by The Medical University of Graz it was discovered that people who are in a plant based diet are at higher risk of developing cancer and mental illnesses such as depression.
Although this study was not vegan focused, but remember that a vegan diet is a sub-category of the vegetarian diet.
- Muscle mass loss
It is true that when you start a vegan diet you will tend to lose muscle mass (I know it happened to me).
This all due to generally how the vegan foods are.
This phenomenon happens a lot to beginner vegans since they are not aware of the proper foods to eat.
In my previous posts I did talk about the fact that most vegans are not clued-up about the vegan foods that give you enough protein.
Vegan foods high in protein should be on every vegan’s plate if they are to avoid this, however it is so common because people are not willing to educate themselves.
So what is my final take on this subject you may ask?
Well as you have read above both diets have their good and bad but from a long term sustainability the vegan diet greatly outperforms the meat eater diet,
I also would say if you opt for white meat like fish and chicken, as a meat eater, it can be just the same or better than a vegan diet.
This is because white meat does not have the bad cholesterol like the red meat but rather it has the good cholesterol.
I am talking from experience here because when I ate it I did not get any chest pain reactions so when I checked online this confirmed it for me.
In fact if you are not ready to leave meat totally but want to be healthy or if you want to transition from being a meat eater to being a vegan substituting red meat with white meat can be the best option.
This diet is called the mediterranean diet and this diet has become very famous these days.
Just becareful though because white meat still has chemicals injected in poultry to help grow it which is toxic to your body over time.
Why I would recommend a vegan diet over a meat diet
I did mention that the plant based diet is linked to cancer and mental illness right?
What if I told you how this can be easily mitigated?
The reason most people who are in a plant based diet are linked to having cancer is due to the fact that they are not as active as they should be.
Part of being in a plant based diet is to live healthy, so including exercise in your life should be part of every non-meat eater’s lifestyle.
In fact the American Cancer Association backs this up by saying that the main causes of cancer in people is being less active and having a poor diet.
You see when most people start a plant based diet like a vegan diet they are not sure how to get all the vitamins needed in the body. This thean cuases them to have a poor diet which is linked to cancer.
This is the reason I created a vegan diet article for beginners which focuses on what vitamins you need to obtain and where to get it from. You can check it out here.
This is my guide where I mention what vitamins to focus on to take care of your nutrition fully and easily.
In fact the American Cancer Association supports the consumption of plant based foods more than meat foods to prevent cancer cases.
Take home message
Many people are not aware of the risks associated with being a meat eater and also with being a vegan. This is vital for being healthy on each diet.
Both the diets have their associated risks if you are not cautious about what you eat. For an example a person who eats grilled chicken and fish can be healthier then a person who is a vegan but is not taking all his vitamins needed in his body.
This is the reason I always make sure I take all the vitamins and in this case things are great.
Looking at the benefits I would always recommend a plant based diet over a meat diet, however if a person does not want to leave meat they should rather focus on white meat like fish and chicken and eat it in moderation.
The vegan diet has many benefits for me since I have been able to mange my heart related condition (clogged heart arteries).
So this is why it is my number one recommendation.
I hope this article was helpful in answering your question about whether vegans are healthier then vegetarians.
If you have any question or any comments you can leave them below, I will be more then happy to engage with you.