The benefits to maintaining a vegetarian diet are myriad and increasingly well-defined by modern science; these benefits include decreased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Many vegetarians claim to feel better and more perceptive, and two of the top three sprinters in the world are vegan. Vegetarians often claim moral superiority over non-vegetarians through varieties of a “hurt no living thing” credo. Nevertheless, only 2.8% of American adults are vegetarian. The advantages to vegetarianism are well-known, and the disadvantages seem negligible, yet in most countries only a tiny portion of the populace are vegetarian or vegan; Why would anyone ignore the option to live longer and feel superior, both physically and ethically?
Primarily, the opponents of vegetarianism disagree with it's strictures on scientific grounds. “But of course,” answer the vegetarians “their own muse, science, silences those claims without effort.” No, in fact; studies indicate vegetarians are much more at risk for deficiencies in calcium, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. Although many devoted vegetarians take supplements to counteract these deficiencies, the eventual lethality of an iron deficiency-related anemia, for example, completely debunks many vegetarian's claims that no meat is somehow “more natural”—if normal humans can't survive unaided after eliminating part of their diet, it can only be concluded that part of their diet was essential.
An even more serious symptom of vegetarian diet is calcium deficiency: calcium deficiency inhibits bone growth, even causing proactive weakening of bone structures, and eventually osteoporosis and death. Again, many vegetarians take supplements or get their calcium from dairy products, which are produced by the very animals they seek to prevent the mistreatment of. Incorporated dairy cows are just as medicated and maltreated as those grown for their meat; not only does this shortsighted approach cause many vegetarians to intake similar amounts of hormones and antibiotics as non-vegetarians, it also again invalidates their moral argument.
Ever met anyone with anorexia? Chances are, in order to disguise their life-threatening eating disorder, they claimed to be vegetarian. This practice is so common among eating-disorder patients that vegetarian diet is considered a medical warning-sign that a patient is at risk for anorexia nervosa, bulimia, stimulant or laxative abuse, or binge eating. That is by no means saying that all vegetarians have eating disorders, but, according to “The Dark Side of Vegetarianism,” teenage and adult vegetarians are 400% more likely to indulge in risky eating behaviors, especially binging. These data suggest that vegetarianism can be, rather than a solution for the bad eating habits of Americans, a simple disguise for an equally unhealthy routine. According to epidemiology professor Dianne Neumark-Sztainer , a co-author of the study, “[Vegetarianism] can be a very, very healthy way to eat, as...