The Dangers Of A Vegetarian Diet

741 words - 3 pages

With the rising want for a healthier lifestyle, many people are turning towards meatless diets. Vegetarianism in particular is a popular diet used to achieve an increase in overall health. While this diet has many positive effects on an individual’s health, dangers arise when using this diet during nutritional need. In particular, a vegetarian diet without a nutritional plan during pregnancy, infancy, or childhood increases risks of many types of deficiencies leading to more serious health concerns.
First, consider iron deficiency. Since meats are high in iron content, a vegetarian diet reduces iron in our body. All individuals need iron to complete bodily functions, but in times of rapid growth and pregnancy higher quantities of iron are needed: Pregnant women should consume 27 milligrams per day, children ages one to three require seven milligrams per day, children ages four to eight require ten milligrams per day, and finally infants seven to twelve months require eleven milligrams per day. If these levels of iron are not achieved it delays body functions varying with age. In pregnant women, iron deficiency increases the risk of premature babies, which have greater health risks than mature babies. In children, iron deficiency stunts growth. In infants, iron deficiency delays motor and mental function (“Iron and Iron Deficiency”). If iron deficiency is not treated, it could lead to iron deficiency anemia. To transport oxygen throughout the body, we rely on our red blood cell’s hemoglobin, an iron rich protein that carries oxygen. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when there is not enough iron in circulation to produce hemoglobin, therefore, resulting in decreased red blood cells. Since most of our iron comes from meats, a diet that eliminates meat causes iron deficiency.
Furthermore, acknowledge vitamin B12 deficiency. There are many vitamins that we need that are body cannot make, thus it is important that our diet includes sources of these vitamins. Vitamin B12 deficiency, in particular, is common in vegetarian diets because “plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms or have vitamin B12 added to them” (“Vitamin B12”). However, animals are a source of vitamin B12 because they can consume...

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