Animal Foods versus Vegetarianism

Animal Foods versus Vegetarianism

There has been a disagreement on whether people go the meat way or become vegetarians. The debate makes people confused as everyone has something to say regarding the benefits of each option. The ultimate goal of eating is to meet the nutritional needs of an individual hence it is always a rule of the thumb than a person chooses a path that provides him or her with the required nutrients while posing minimal health risks. There are a lot of benefits from taking an animal based diet as compared to being a vegetarian (Scarborough et al, 2014). The advantageous is not only grounded on the nutritional components but also expand to the overall acquisition of the food. It is therefore advisable to consume animal diets as they are more convenient to acquire than vegetarian menus and have a whole load of nutritional benefits.

A meat diet meets nutritional requirements in a form that is readily absorbable, unlike a vegetarian diet. Most vegetarian diets pose interactions during digestion and absorption which may lead to the failure to absorb most of the nutrients. Most animal foods do not interact with each other they are quickly absorbed, unlike a vegetarian diet. For instance, the mixture of iron and vitamin C impairs with iron absorption and a person may suffer iron deficiencies (Adams, 2015). It does not make sense taking a lot of nutrients and failing to absorb them in a vegetarian diet yet an animal diet is quickly absorbed.

All nutritional needs of a person can be obtained with a pure consumption of a meat diet. A person gets carbohydrates, proteins, starch and even some vitamins from consuming animal diet. A person does not have to struggle to find various food components from different foods as most of the animal products contain almost every nutrient. A vegetarian goes through a lot of struggle in a bid to acquire the foods as he or she needs small bits of many food components (Le & Sabaté, 2014).. Varieties of food such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit with different food components are required to meet the nutritional needs of a vegetarian. The struggle is, however, less for the meat eaters since with one serving of meat they can get most of the required nutrients.

People who feed on animal products do not need to seek additional supplements to meet their dietary requirements, unlike the vegetarians. The animal diet contains all the nutritional requirements, unlike a vegetarian diet which forces a person to go an extra mile and look for dietary supplements elsewhere which may be costly (Dinu et al, 2017). It is more convenient to obtain the nutritional components in an animal diet unlike depending on a vegetarian diet for which one needs several supplements.

A meat diet contains vitamin B12 useful in red blood cell and nerve fiber formation. The vitamin is only found in meat, fish, eggs, and milk and a person using a vegetarian diet will not get the essential benefits of the vitamin. The lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia due to a decrease in production of red blood cells. A more significant amount of proteins is derived from meat, fish, eggs and dairy foods despite the fact that it can be found in a vegetarian diet (Adams, 2015). Animal diet is advantageous because it also provides a person with iron which is readily absorbable than the plant-derived iron. Various plant substances inhibit the absorption of iron by binding it in vegetarians.

The irony of the matter among vegetarians arises among the Lacto-ovo vegetarians who consume some animal by-products such as milk and yogurt. Most vegetarians lie in this category and make the whole idea lose meaning since they are still attached to animal products. It does not make sense to be selective as it makes one’s life harder and it would be easy to make one ultimate decision (Leitzmann, 2014). It is also not guaranteed that the vegetarian will lead a healthier life since there are many unhealthy food options among the vegetarians such as potato chips and veggie burgers hence one may be a vegetarian and still eat an unhealthy diet.

Counter individuals in the dietary decisions argue that most animal diets which contain saturated fats which lead to some cardiovascular conditions. Animal foods also have a high cholesterol level which increases the risk for obesity and heart diseases, but it does not necessarily mean that meat eaters will suffer the conditions. People can consume a white meat which contains less cholesterol than red meat and avoids the dangers of saturated fats (Scarborough et al, 2014). Consumption of the lean side of meat is a great way to prevent the adverse effects of red meat since it contains more nutrients and less fats.

However, a vegetarian diet has its own pros which may prompt people to consider the option as a lifestyle. It is capable of meeting the dietary needs of an individual including the protein component despite the fact that the proportion of protein is lower than animal diets. A vegetarian benefit from the vegetarian proteins more than those in animal products since a diet with a high number of protein increases the risk for osteoporosis and kidney failure (Le & Sabaté, 2014). It is true that meat based diets provide more proteins than the vegetarian diet, but it is has been that most people take more protein than required hence a vegetarian can gain adequate proteins from his or her menu.

A vegetarian diet provides several vitamins which defend the body against free radicals which cause several diseases and early aging. Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables are protective against several diseases including cancer hence vegetarians suffer less diseases. Carotenoid lycopene protects against prostate, lung, and digestive cancers while vitamin E reduces the incidence of colon, prostate, breast and cervical cancer among other health problems (Leitzmann, 2014). Vegetarians consume less saturated fats and higher unsaturated fats which are beneficial to health and avoid the harmful effects of the unhealthy fats. Iron absorption in vegetarians can, however, be enhanced by the intake of vitamin C which creates an acidic medium that creates an acidic medium for quick absorption.

In conclusion, the choice of a diet is affected by various factors including biological and socioeconomic issues. A person needs to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of both animal and vegetarian diet to come up with the path of choice. An animal diet contains all the dietary requirements which are easily obtained, digested and absorbed in contrast to a vegetarian diet. It, however, predisposes a person to numerous health risks such as obesity and heart diseases. It is necessary that a person borrows from the two options to come up with a dietary plan that not only meets the nutritional requirements but is available, affordable and convenient. As a result, a person may mix the aspects of animal consumption and vegetarian approach to acquire the ultimate healthy lifestyle.


Adams, C. J. (2015). The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., Casini, A., & Sofi, F. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 57(17), 3640-3649.

Le, L. T., & Sabaté, J. (2014). Beyond meatless, the health effects of vegan diets: findings from the Adventist cohorts. Nutrients, 6(6), 2131-2147.

Leitzmann, C. (2014). Vegetarian nutrition: past, present, future. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 100(Supplement 1), 496S-502S.

Scarborough, P., Appleby, P. N., Mizdrak, A., Briggs, A. D., Travis, R. C., Bradbury, K. E., & Key, T. J. (2014). Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Climatic change, 125(2), 179-192.