A vegetarian diet might in fact be masking a potential eating disorder according to the recent study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
The results found that twice as many teens and nearly double the number of young adults who had been vegetarians reported having used unhealthy means to control their weight, compared to those who had never been vegetarians. Those methods include diet pills, laxatives and diuretics as well as inducing vomiting to control weight.
Most people know that a balanced vegetarian diet is among the most healthful of dietary patterns providing several benefits. Vegetarians are less likely to have blood pressure problems as well as unhealthy cholesterol levels.
However, a vegetarian diet is likely to create a problem for several people: the lack of important nutritional elements. Vegans may be lacking protein, vitamins and minerals, such as iron and vitamin B, on a daily basis. Those are all important ingredients to a healthy lifestyle.
People need to understand the problem is not the vegan diet but perhaps a poor vegan diet. A well balanced vegetarian diet along with a multi vitamin should be “healthy enough” to prevent any extreme weight-control bad behavior.
The focus should be on proper eating habits instead of the type of diet. Bad eating habits may lead to eating disorders and obesity, no matter if you are vegetarian or not.
There is an excellent book, Becoming Vegan, by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina, two registered dietitians who have distinguished reputations in their field. This book will eliminate any concerns one might have about how to get proper nutrition from an all plant-based diet.
I have heard about this too. Researchers in the food industry learned years ago that people can become addicted to foods made primarily out of fats, salts and sugars. Food companies have used this information to design so-called food that would produce greater profits for themselves, regardless of its impact on people's health. With all the advertising that is done, we really are brainwashed. I watch my daughter consume literally pounds of high fructose corn syrup a year in the sodas she drinks, (even though it has been found to contain mercury!) This is considered normal in most countries, thanks to advertising.
My first step to taking back my health was to cut out these drinks. This led to an immediate weight loss of about 10 pounds. (I had already eliminated alcohol from my diet.) Then I started to eliminate much of the excess fat, eventually making the decision to become vegan. But this is still not enough. Plenty of vegan processed foods rely on the same addiction to sweet, salt & fat.
I think it really is a matter of rewiring the brain, and this is done through diligent practice. I have never been much of a vegan chef, but I am determined to buy only healthy food and to improve my food preparation skills, so I can eventually make every meal that I eat a healthy meal. I am still a long way from this goal, but at least I know which direction I am going in.
"The results found that twice as many teens and nearly double the number of young adults who had been vegetarians reported having used unhealthy means to control their weight, compared to those who had never been vegetarians."
I believe this correlation is heavily influenced by the fact that those who are likely to try to control their weight by unhealthy means are also willing to try a lot of different diets, vegetarian being one of them. Although veg*nism can be healthy, like any diet it is not inherently so. And unfortunately, some see it merely as a way to lose weight. Those who do may negatively affect data like this for those of us who choose to do it for animal rights reasons, and consume a well-balanced diet.