5 Reasons Why Vegetarians Are Unhealthy

What on earth is this topic doing on a site that promotes a vegetarian lifestyle? Is there really a reason why vegetarians are unhealthy? The answer is yes, and I will share with you 5 such reasons.

There are many persons who actually believe that being a vegetarian is bad for you.  Are you one such person…. thinking that someone who doesn’t have meat in their diet must surely be malnourished. Sadly, there are many people who are totally unaware of the many benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.

Bad examples

 The truth is that there are some persons who practice vegetarianism but they themselves are not too knowledgeable about how to adopt this diet and they go about it  in a completely wrong way. The result is that they end up being sick often and people looking on will say “See, he is a vegetarian and has such poor health”.  A terrible example indeed for the vegetarian lifestyle.

While we know that there are lots and lots of benefits, some people like to focus on the cons of a vegetarian diet so let’s see what it is that causes some people who call themselves vegetarians to have such poor health. Let’s examine what causes people to think that vegetarians are unhealthy.

Before going any further, I would like to state my opinion on the matter….

A Vegetarian diet is healthy.

Vegetarians overall enjoy better health than non-vegetarians.

Phew!  I couldn’t hold that in any longer. Now I that I have said my piece, let me continue.

So why are some “vegetarians” unhealthy?

1.  I am vegetarian. I only eat vegetables.

Do you know that there are some people who think vegetarians eat only vegetables?

Do you know what is even more incredible?…….There are some vegetarians who actually do just that. Day after day their plates are piled high with raw salads or steamed veggies.

A person cannot maintain good health on such a diet.  From we were children we heard about carbohydrates, proteins and fats as part of a balanced diet. You cannot get adequate amounts of these from just vegetables.

Any one who eats only vegetables will eventually suffer health issues.

2.  Where are the proteins?

Proteins are the main building block of the body.Thousands of various substances in the body are made of protein so eating enough protein is vital for maintaining health.

What is the main source of protein in the world today?……….Animal products. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Some vegetarians just remove the animal products from their diet and replace it with…… nothing.

Fortunately, adequate protein can also be obtained from plant food, particularly legumes.

It is sad that some people who practice vegetarianism do not pay attention to their protein intake and these persons will invariably end up with ill health.

If you don’t eat enough protein, many of your metabolic processes slow down. This is because the body does not have enough amino acids available to build the proteins it needs. The immune system will not function without key proteins and this will result in increased risk of infection, disease and eventually death.

3.  Life needs balance…..so does your diet

Whether you are a meat eater or a vegetarian, you need to eat a balanced diet if you want to maintain health.

To have a balanced diet you need to consume a variety of foods.  A variety is best because no one food has all your nutrient needs. You might like broccoli but if you eat only broccoli everyday you will miss out on all the other important nutrients provided by other foods.

If dietary practices do not meet nutritional need then ill health will result.

4.  When you can’t pronounce the ingredients

A lot of vegetarians are drawn to the commercial meat alternatives that are available at the supermarket.  There are many varieties to choose from.  However it is important to look at the ingredients to be able to make healthy choices. Some are made from legumes and vegetables but others are made from unpronounceable non-food material.  The sodium content of the latter is also usually very high.

These highly processed, high additive, “made in the lab” foods, although quite tasty, if  eaten in excess will result in decreased health long-term.

5.  Too much of a good thing is bad.

As a child, I used to hear my mother regularly quote the phrase “too much of one thing is good for nothing”.  Most times it was in relation to some persistent , annoying behavior that I was engaged in. This phrase is very applicable to how some people eat.

No matter how good, nutritious and healthy your food is, if you overeat you will suffer ill effects.  It might be upset stomach, it might be unwanted weight gain or it can even be worse.

I heard the story of a lady who on hearing about the wonderful health benefits of carrots decided to consume large amounts of it every day. She would run several carrots through her juice extractor each morning and drink carrot juice several times a day.

After some time, her skin started to get yellow, her palms were yellow and she began to look very unwell. Carrots are very good food but walking around with yellow skin is not so great.

We are always encouraged to eat lots (at least 5 servings) of fruits and vegetables daily so our bodies can be supplied with the necessary vitamins and minerals.  Vitamins are good for you and necessary for health but when taken in excess  some of these vitamins can become toxic and cause great harm.

So are vegetarians really unhealthy?

It’s not that vegetarians are unhealthy. Anyone who does not pay attention to what they eat……. ensuring that they have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins,  fats and  sufficient fruits and vegetables to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals……… will not enjoy optimal health.

A vegetarian diet has been proven to be superior in terms of health benefits as is indicated in numerous studies conducted by several organizations over the past years.

Eating a variety of foods from the whole grains, legumes, and fruit and vegetable categories will provide all the nutrients needed for good health.

Embrace the vegetarian lifestyle. Live health. Eat health.

Do you have any questions or comments regarding this article?  I would love to hear from you.

Drop me a line in the comments section below.

10 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why Vegetarians Are Unhealthy”

  1. Hi Anne, and thanks for creating this informative blog on vegetarianism. You describe the healthy diet very well.

    Eating only fruits and vegetables is not sufficient to maintaining health. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals must also be a major part of a healthy diet.

    Your promotion of this lifestyle shows how it should be done. In a balanced diet, with a good portion of all the nutrients required for excellent health.

    Although I am not a true vegetarian, I am increasing my daily amounts of fruits and vegetables and I can honestly say that this is the direction that I am heading in.

    This is a must read for everyone interested in great health. Keep up the good work.


    • Thanks Paul.

      There are a lot of challenges that we face in life that we have no control over. The things we have control over, like adopting a healthy lifestyle we should try to do. Congratulations for the steps you have been taking so far and I wish you success in whatever you are trying to accomplish to attain and maintain good health.

  2. What an excellent article. It’s good to see something written on how a vegetarian diet could be unhealthy.

    As you say, a lot of people truly think vegetarians eat only vegetables. I have quite a few friends who are vegetarian and the meals they cook are absolutely delicious and just as varied, tasty and inventive as a meat eater would make.

    It’s good to dispel this myth and remind people that they can still get a balanced diet through being vegetarian.

    • Whatever we decide to do in life we should research before we begin so we don’t end up turning a good thing bad because of a wrong approach. I also agree wholeheartedly with you that vegetarian meals can be delicious, varied, tasty and inventive as a meat eater would make. I even go further because I think vegetarians are more inventive.

      Thank you so much for your comment Louise.

  3. Thanks for this post. I have say your title really surprised me as a site that promotes vegetarian lifestyle. So one really do need to pay attention to protein intake seriously as a vegetarian. Do you have information about what are the substitutes to meat if one wants to have a healthy vegetarian lifestyle? Would they be sufficient choices in that alternative?

  4. I guess vegetarians are not unhealthy it is just that they need to look after their diet. It is really wrong to say that vegetarians are unhealthy since there are a lot of people I know who are vegetarians and have never had egg or meat their entire life. The generalization is a bit much.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Studies have shown the vegetarian diet to be the best in achieving and maintaining good health. Many vegetarians have been ridiculed because of their diet choice and have even been advised by their meat eating friends and families that their diet choice is unhealthy.  We know that this is not true. Unfortunately, there are some people who try to embrace the vegetarian lifestyle but maybe because of lack of knowledge they don’t eat the right balance of foods (as is mentioned in the post) and end up with health issues.  Such incidents add fuel to those who want to ridicule the vegetarian diet. However, I hope when they read this post, they will understand why some “vegetarians” might end up with health issues but more so that they will come to realize the great benefits of adopting the vegetarian lifestyle.

      I agree that the generalization in the title is a bit much, but it is intentional 🙂  Check out my page that lists the health benefits of the vegetarian and steps to adapting to this lifestyle at vegetariancrew.com/vegetarian-lifestyle ‎

  5. Hello Anne,

    I laugh at this silly debate between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It is so funny. I think it is because vegetarians or vegans are a lot more out there is claiming they are healthy. I think any diet, will have people who keep their health in mind completely and others who are misguided. Thanks for pointing these key ideas out. What would be a recommendation if you were looking into being vegetarian?

    • Although some people become vegetarians by just suddenly cutting all meats from their diet, I would recommend a gradual change.  You can start by just substituting one meal per week with a vegetarian option and then substituting more meals over the following weeks.  It is important that you familiarize yourself with some good vegetarian recipes so you will be able to prepare delicious tasting meals. You can visit my post, Vegetarian Lifestyle for Beginners, where I introduce you to the benefits of vegetarianism and take you through the steps of adopting the vegetarian lifestyle.


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