Vegetarians ‘are more likely to be depressed’, study claims – Metro.co.uk

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Researchers at the University of Alabama said their study ‘does not support avoiding meat consumption for overall psychological health benefits’ (Picture: Getty Images)

Vegetarians and vegans may be more likely to be depressed, a new study claims.

Researchers from the University of Alabama recently found one in three vegetarians have suffered from anxiety or depression in their lifetime.

When compared with meat-eaters, people with a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescription drugs for mental illness and nearly three times as likely to consider suicide, the research claims.

The analysts said their study ‘does not support avoiding meat consumption for overall psychological health benefits’, according to MailOnline.

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One in three vegetarians have suffered from anxiety or depression in their lifetime, according to the study (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Scientists looked at 18 studies – involving 160,257 people – that scrutinised the link between eating meat and mental health.

The study – entitled ‘Meat and Mental Health: A systematic review of meat abstention and depression, anxiety and related phenomena’ – determined that those who did not eat meat had ‘significantly’ higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm.

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It was suggested that turning to a vegetarian or vegan diet could be a ‘behavioural marker’, meaning that these individuals were already experiencing poor mental health.

However, this theory is unconfirmed and needs more research to support it.

The University of Alabama study was published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Dr Edward Archer, one of the authors, said: ‘While the risks and benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets have been debated for centuries, our results show that meat eaters have better psychological health.’

He said that people may need to seriously consider their mental health when ‘evaluating the benefits and risks of particular dietary patterns.’

Writing on Twitter, Aseem Malhotra, an NHS Consultant Cardiologist, added: ‘In general, if you want to avoid increased risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviour then do eat meat.

‘If you’re vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons, then please personally invest extra in strategies to protect your mental health.’

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Source: Thanks https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/30/vegetarians-are-likely-depressed-meat-good-mental-health-12631970/