New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

Meta-analysis comparing 18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health: “Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health.”

Source: New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

While carefully avoiding any conclusion relating to causation, this new study – which compared “18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health (which was narrowed down to depression, anxiety, deliberate self-harm, stress perception, and quality of life)” and which included 149,559 meat-consumers and 8,584 meat-abstainers from Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania – nonetheless found a striking correlation.

“The researchers found ‘clear evidence’ that those who abstained from consuming meat tended to have higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and self-harm compared to those who did not.”

Quite a bit higher, in fact! The Toronto Sun, in a report on this study, notes that “the study found people eating a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescription drugs for mental illness and just about three times more likely to contemplate suicide. It also indicated that 33% of vegetarians suffer from depression or anxiety.” That is pretty dramatic, and it is not an isolated phenomenon. As study author Urska Dobersek, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Indiana, states,

“‘My co-authors and I were truly surprised at how consistent the relation between meat-avoidance and the increased prevalence of mental illness was across populations. As we stated in our conclusion, ‘Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health,’ Dobersek told PsyPost.”

That is certainly a gentle, and politically-correct, way to express the matter! Dobersek does, however, make a significant, if carefully-phrased, recommendation:

“Our study provides further evidence that because humans are omnivores, it is illogical and potentially unhealthy to recommend “eating a varied diet” followed by a long list of foods, beverages, and nutrients to avoid (e.g., meat, eggs, sugar, salt, fat, fruit juices, cholesterol, etc.). This is especially true, as my co-authors demonstrated, when the proscriptions and recommendations are based on a ‘fictional discourse on diet-disease relations.’”

To which I would only add, in the words of the “Selkirk Grace,”

“Some have meat and canna eat, and some have nae that want it. But we have meat, and we can eat, so let the Lord be thankéd!”

 

 

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

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