A crazy debate that has raged back and forth about the inadequacies of a vegetarian diet versus hazards of a non-vegetarian diet is both accurate and wrong, and if one really looks at both groups of people and their eating habits there is room for healthy living in both. Confused??
As humans we are creatures of comfort, habit and stubbornness. People get sick over time from consuming an inadequate diet or overeating and from leading sedentary lives. Did you notice the key missing words in this sentence above? There is no mention of the words Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian. This rule applies to both categories.
It's not the type of cultural or religious beliefs we hold but our actual diet and the food we consume that is pulling the rug out from under our feet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said 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 10 years.
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)Mostly, we humans can be divided into two rough categories:
1. The veggie lovers
2. The non-veggie lovers
• A vegetarian diet (veggie-lovers) is one wherein a person consumes all types of plant foods 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.VEGETARIANS & their DIETS
• A non-vegetarian diet (non-veggie lovers) includes all plant foods as well as foods and by-products derived from animals like meat, poultry and fish, etc.
Nearly every significant study carried out on people who are vegetarians has shown the following:
Vegetarians are at an increased risk for:
• Iron deficiency anemia
• Zinc deficiency
• Vitamin B12 deficiency
But, Hey! Before you non-vegetarians jump in here and say, "See I told you so!" Lets get this straight.VEGETARIANS CAN and ARE ABLE to get adequate nutrition from an exclusively vegetarian diet.
If vegetarians consume a variety of foods along with the right amounts of foods from each food group, a veg. diet can meet the recommendations for all nutrients. Those vegetarians that especially focus on including foods that are rich in calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12 to counter a potential deficiency, achieve optimal health.
Of course, the most important part in this equation is EXERCISE
. If you keep that element out, no amount of healthy vegetarian food will help you in the long term.NON-VEGETARIANS & their DIETS
Hey you vegetarians, jump up and down for Non vegetarians are consuming more and more and more high fat content pork, chicken, turkey, beef and seafood than they have ever eaten in the past. A study carried out in 2003 showed that Americans ate more of each of these foods than they did a half-century earlier. Now you might jump up and down and say, Oh! That study applies to Americans only, so why bring it up here, but let me tell you, globally everyone loves to emulate and follow all of America's BAD habits.
The biggest increase in consumption has been for poultry. Chicken and fish in itself have not been shown to cause chronic diseases, but when the chicken and fish are deep fried in partially hydrogenated oil, they become one of the most potent causes of heart disease as they then contain trans fatty acids.
Studies have also found the following with non-vegetarians:
• Have shorter lifespan and are more prone to chronic diseases as compared to vegetariansSo which one is better? Today, both these categories are falling short.
• On average have more heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
• Predominantly eat lesser amounts of fruits and vegetables than recommended.
Looking at current trend of a veggie lover and a non-veggie lover, they are BOTH consuming more of refined cereals (white bread, white rice, etc.), as compared to whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc). Refined grains are devoid of their vitamins and fiber due to the polishing process.
Have you counted how many varieties of packaged and processed foods are available on the shelves today for both Non veg and veg diets. Well! Don't count as it will make your head spin. We are all emptying our pockets for convenience at the cost of damaging our health. The only ones laughing all the way to the bank are the manufacturers of these products.
We are consuming more of processed and ready to eat foods such as baked goods and fried goods in place of more healthful foods such as raw fresh fruits and vegetables. Also lets talk about SALT. Huge amount of salt is found in baked goods, packaged and processed foods and fatty meats. The combination of all the above, i.e. high intake of refined cereals, baked goods and fried goods, salt, fatty meats, promote obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. (Please note, `Dear Reader' that this applies to both veggie lovers and non-veggie lovers)
Both non-veg. and veg.diets are killing us: The use of refined foods (that are devoid of natural & healthy nutrients) & foods containing saturated fats and cholesterol
Therein lies our universal problem and solution: STOP the Debate on which category is better and understands our common problems.
We Indians have turned into a nation of FOODIES:
1. Fast Foodies
2. Fried Foodies.
The fact is both diets can help us achieve optimum health, prevent nutrient deficiencies & other chronic diseases "IF" the focus is towards maintaining a healthy & an adequate diet by choosing the right quantity & quality of food.
Both vegetarians and Non-vegetarians need to start consuming a balanced diet & exercise adequately but more importantly change their attitude from "Fast and fried tastes best" to a "Fresh is better" approach.By.Kanupriya Khanna, Dietitian, www.NutritionVista.comPost comments
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