Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Worst Kind of Vegetarian

First off, I want to make it clear that I don't have anything against vegetarians. I admire the intention to preserve animal life and applaud many vegetarians' activism on animal cruelty. I've actually been a lot more proactive in reducing the amount of meat I eat myself recently. However, there's one huge problem I have with a lot of the vegetarians I meet...


As a personal trainer and nutritional advisor I work closely with a diverse cross-section of the public. We discuss lifestyle, exercise and food, but when it comes to discussing the latter with many vegetarians, the obvious issue is the distinct lack of sufficient quantity and variety of vegetables in the diet.

It shouldn't be that hard - it's even in the name that they give themselves!

When I'm faced with such an individual, what really worries me is what they're plugging into their diet instead of nutrient dense veggies. It's no shock to me that many vegetarians - contrary to what you would expect - are sick and overweight. This often appears to be fuelled by the replacement of vegetables with carb-heavy foods.

A 2014 study run by researchers at University College London found that people who ate seven or more portions of fruit or veg a day has a 33% reduced risk of death from any cause, a 25% reduced risk of death from cancer and a 31% reduced risk from cardiovascular disease, compared with people who ate less than one portion per day.

Whether you've decided to adopt a meat-free lifestyle or not, I feel that this is a solid baseline for everyone.

We now also know more than we ever have about the benefits of a safely executed low-carb diet. Dr Josh Axe, an American doctor and clinical nutritionist outlines some of these benefits nicely in this infographic.

So my advice to all vegetarians is to look at your diet as closely as the rest of us. Limiting, or indeed totally eliminating, meat from your diet doesn't automatically result in a healthier body, especially when more rice, potatoes and pasta is added in.


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