From Weight Loss To Hormone Problems: How Vegetarianism Affects The Body - With An Expert

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From Weight Loss To Hormone Problems: How Vegetarianism Affects The Body - With An Expert
From Weight Loss To Hormone Problems: How Vegetarianism Affects The Body - With An Expert

Video: From Weight Loss To Hormone Problems: How Vegetarianism Affects The Body - With An Expert

Video: Neal Barnard, MD | How Foods Affect Hormones 2022, December

Now a proper, healthy diet has become an obligatory aspect of the life of almost every person. It is fashionable not only to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, drink at least two liters of water a day, but also give up meat. It is believed that vegetarianism has a positive effect on our health. The editorial staff of decided to consult a gastroenterologist to find out if this is really so.

What is vegetarianism?

Vegetarianism is a type of diet with a number of restrictions that affect the body in different ways. First you need to decide what type of vegetarianism we are talking about: lacto-vegetarianism, in which meat, fish, poultry are excluded from the diet, ovo-vegetarianism, when all dairy products are excluded, or sand-vegetarianism, whose adherents do not eat poultry.

The strictest dietary system in veganism: a huge amount of animal food is excluded from the diet - from dairy products and meat to honey, gelatin and caffeine. Vegans refuse even processed foods.

The more dietary restrictions a person has, the more changes in the work of the body we observe. Large restrictions entail a deficiency of various substances and a malfunction in the body. But about everything in more detail.

Weight loss and protection from disease

The vegetarian diet is less high in calories, so it is believed to be easier to lose weight. With this type of diet, cholesterol levels are low. Thus, a person has only that cholesterol that is produced by the body itself. So, vegans are less likely to develop atherosclerosis, cholelithiasis, some types of cancer - lungs, prostate, breast, type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as cataracts and impaired motor function of the gastrointestinal tract due to the high content of fiber in the diet.

Lack of iron

However, in vegetarians, we are much more likely to be deficient in iron. The fact is that plant food contains almost no non-heme iron, and it is in this form that our body needs it. No more than 5% of this microelement is absorbed from plant foods. Accordingly, if a person consumes both plant and animal food, then the absorption of iron increases by 3 times.

Homones will start to be naughty

On the one hand, the fact that plant foods do not contain cholesterol are good. However, there are problems with the lack of those very animal fats that are necessary for our hormonal metabolism with you. For example, the production of estrogen, the main hormone of female beauty and youth, decreases. Of course, a lot of fats are found in vegetable oils, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados, but they are very difficult to combine and must be eaten in a certain amount and at a certain time. Because of this, we often see hyperestrogenism in vegetarians.

Without animal proteins, enzymes in our body are produced in insufficient quantities. The fact is that vegetable proteins cannot completely replace animals, they are defective. You can, of course, be sophisticated and combine them with each other, but even then it is difficult to make up for the deficiency of all the necessary amino acids, so you will have to eat vegetable fats almost around the clock.

I recommend that my patients adhere to a vegetarian diet only a few times a week, the main thing is not to completely exclude food of animal origin from the diet,

- Anna Borisova, a gastroenterologist, shared with the editorial staff of

The body's reserves are depleted

With a chronic deficiency of complete protein, we note specific changes: it is impossible to gain muscle mass, especially for children, the resources of the liver and pancreas are depleted, chronic inflammatory diseases, menstrual irregularities, hypothyroidism, slowing down of metabolism, B12 and iron deficiency appear.

All this can cause dry skin, swelling, drowsiness, changes and increased heart rate and other unpleasant symptoms. In addition, vegetarians are very temperature dependent - they adapt very poorly to any temperature changes, so it will be difficult to switch to this food system in winter. Vegetarians are more likely to develop a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. Therefore, in addition to osteoporosis - a deterioration in tissue strength, complications can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as a result of vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to more pronounced depression, anxiety, asthenia, weakness, drowsiness and even irritability. And in the cold season, all frustrations are experienced very hard without it.

Vitamin A may not be absorbed

Often, vegetarians develop hypovitaminosis - especially vitamin A. There is a certain percentage of people in whom vitamin A can only be absorbed in the form of active retinol, and it is found in animal food.

Therefore, such people can eat a huge amount of carrots, vegetable oils, but they have vitamin A, which is contained in carrots in the form of beta-carotene, will not be absorbed. If a person has not done genetic tests, then it is impossible to say with certainty whether he will absorb vitamin A or not. If you find yourself in the percentage of people who only assimilate retinol, then a vegetarian diet will not suit you.

Blow to beauty

The low levels of zinc found in vegetarians are reflected in the condition of the skin and hair, the absorption of iron and the heartbeat. Very often we see omega-3 deficiency, which in turn increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease and any dementia. Most of the omega-3 is found in fish, most of all in wild salmon. Oils, on which vegans rely, are more omega-6, nuts - omega-9.

The gut won't say thank you

Also, vegetarians often disrupt the composition of the intestinal flora, because the bacterial flora of the stomach is highly dependent on what we feed it. If the diet is varied and includes food of animal origin, then for a healthy microbiota you get the necessary substances from plant and animal food.

Vegetarians deprive themselves of the animal part of a healthy diet, as well as the ability to independently assimilate something from animal food - they depend 100% on the composition of their microflora. If it is in good condition, then the microflora will help to produce a lot on its own and will be able to provide even essential amino acids. If the composition of the flora is incorrect, then the intestinal function is disrupted, and amino acids are not produced.


Vegetarianism is suitable for some people, but there are those for whom it is definitely contraindicated: children, pregnant and lactating women, weakened people, especially after surgery or after severe physical, emotional and nervous exhaustion.

Oddly enough, vegetarianism is not recommended for people who smoke and regularly consume alcohol.

Is vegetarianism an anti-age food?

It is often said that vegetarianism is ideal for people in their 50s and 60s. This is partly true, since the growth of the body is no longer there, the hormonal background is changed and reduced, and many often have high cholesterol - on this side, vegetarianism helps.

However, people at any age need proteoglycans, which are needed to preserve tendons, skin elasticity, and joints.Such complex proteins are found only in meat food, which means that you need to additionally take substances that are deficient for vegetarians. In addition, vegetarianism does not promote the production of the hormone estrogen, which keeps women young, which means that switching to this diet early can accelerate the aging process.

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