The Issues in Vegetarian Diets and the Importance of Meat in Our Diets

Categories: Vegetarianism


Although much research has indicated that these alternative vegetarian diets are healthier. There are also several negative effects that most people overlook. In this counter argument essay, I aim to explore how these diets can negatively affect one’s overall health, and one’s budget as well. These diets are very restrictive, and can be fatal. These emerging issues deserve immediate attention, because most are unaware of these devastating side-effects. The food pyramid establishes which foods we need in our diets.

We first learn about these ideas in elementary school. Meat is utilized within this pyramid, and is still included even today. Despite, the numerous dietary changes, more specifically the change into vegetarian lifestyles.

Meat has various benefits to one’s body, the most important would be the degree of protein we receive from it. Not only does meat provide out bodies with essential amounts of proteins, but also gives us many other vitamins and nutrients needed for a healthy and strong bodies.

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Consumption of meat allows iron, zinc and vitamin B12 to keep our bodies regulated (McAfee,et al., 2017). Many people argue that these dietary needs can be met under the restriction of meat, in vegetarian diets, however, the reality is quite limiting. Although, it is somewhat true that these vitamins and proteins are consistent in other foods separate of meet, it is hard to reach the needed amounts. Most vegetarians enter these new diets, with little understanding of how vitamins and nutrients work. They begin these diets for various reasons, sometimes even health, but end up unhealthier than they were before these diet changes.

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The reasoning behind this relies on which foods they take in. Most often, vegetarians are not planning their diets well. Rather they try and manage everything themselves. By not getting adequate amounts of these key nutrients, vegetarians can face several negative health effects (McAfee,et al., 2017). Amongst these devastating health issues that vegetarians face, would be low iron. Although low iron can be found in anyone, whether they eat meat or not, it is extremely popular in vegetarian diets. Nearly 500 million people are said to have anemia, which can also be deemed as anemic. This is a result when iron is not being properly absorbed into the body and can sometimes even be fatal. Many vegetarians do not consume enough plant-based iron suppliers, which is why this problem occurs. This is especially true, for vegans, who restrict their diets even more. Deficiencies are nothing new to this world, but most people think of malnourishment in third world countries, not in the United States or other industrialized countries with emerging outlets of knowledge in these topics. There are several negative health consequences that form from anemia (Craig, 1994).

According to Craig: “There are many deleterious effects of iron deficiency, including a decreased capacity for work, a greater tendency to fatigue, decreased athletic performance, an impaired ability to maintain body temperature in a cold environment, impaired intellectual performance, a decrease in attentiveness, behavioral abnormalities in small children, a greater risk of premature delivery and how birth weight in neonates, complications of pregnancy, an impaired immune function, and an increased risk of lead poisoning“ (Craig, 1994, p. 122338). These harmful effects only respond to a lack of iron, there are still several other consequences from lack of other nutrients, such as protein. There are several explanations as to why vegetarians are unable to reach needed amounts of these nutrients. Although they are available in markets, are these prices rational. Next I wish to examine the price tag associated with a vegetarian diet. Most people are unaware of how expensive it can be to eat a natural and healthy diet.

Many products contain meat traces, or so fourth, and those shifting to vegetarian diets want to eat foods that stay away from this entirely. For several reasons, including the prices associated with such diets can reveal to audiences why these nutrients aren’t being supplemented in these new diets. When shifting to a Vegetarian diet, there are also many foods that contain meat that are unnoticed. Chicken broth, gelatin, and mono-and diglycerides are most often eliminated within these diets as well. Vegetarians most often try to completely rearrange their lifestyle choices into more healthier ones to accommodate These diet types can be somewhat limited, depending on the location of the person, and they also can be quite expensive compared to the regular diet (Padel, 2005). Organic diets are chosen for various reasons. The most significant relies on the fact that these products are free of genetically modification processes. Organic products are meant to not have any sort of unnatural processes or additives (McAfee, 2004). Eating organic is expensive, because it takes actual gardening and farming crafts, which are very different compared to the faster modern technologies utilized with inorganic practices.

This article indicated that organic diets can cost nearly five times as much when compared to regular foods. The costs come from labor, shipment, and other figures associated that are unrecognized (Padel, 2005). Not to mention many costs arise from the circumstances of these farmers. They have several market risks involved with these natural and organic farming techniques. According to Hanson et al.: “risks that are similar to those in conventional farming, although they may be managed in different ways in organic farming; risks that are different between organic farming and conventional farming, but that may only be temporary, due to the recent rapid growth in the organic sector; risks that are greatly different from those of most conventional farmers because of the different nature of the production and marketing systems”. These findings were accumulated from a prestigious and detailed study on the risks associated with organic farming. These ideas were given to audiences and researches by farmers directly facing such difficulties in these markets (Hanson, 2004).

Vegetarians switching to these organic diets face many financial burdens. Most often, whole food stores can also be out of distance for these persons, and one will have to travel quite a way to reach one. This adds to the costs as well (Padel, 2005). Organic meals are certainly a lot healthier, because they do not contain additives are bodies are not use to. There are many dangerous correlations between these additives and health and mental states. This was consistent in both test animals and human beings alike (De Vendômois et al., 2009). Most vegetarians who switch argue the point that meats are infested with antibiotics and other unnatural chemicals. However, they miss the point that nearly all plants are as well. As explained briefly above, which is why organic diets are needed to escape this fact. Meats and vegetables contain very similar unnatural additives.

Although, they are different in nature, they basically do the same harmful things to one’s body. Both accounts are indirect and spread to humans by the consumption of the product (Ferrer et al. ,2005). With meat, animals are fed steroid type medications to increase the size of the animals. The animals also eat the products that use genetic modification, such as corn, which then is spread to humans as well. With plant based products, chemical additives are sprayed on objects. These additives are preservatives and pesticides as well and can negatively harm the body. When anyone argues that meat is the only contaminant of these additives, they are certainly incorrect.

Vegetables, fruits, and nuts can also contain unnatural biproducts (Ferrer et al. 2005). There are several negative health risks involved from eating inorganic diets as suggested by De Vendômois in his research. These types of chemicals can do horrible things to the body, and sadly, there are no regulations on these foods. What I mean by this, is that companies are not required to label these items as GMO’s. So, unless one is educated on these topics, they have no idea that these products contain dangerous chemicals within them. Ignorance can be bliss to many consumers; however, I personally would like to know what I’m placing in my body (De Vendômois et al., 2009). Some of the negative health consequences of these chemicals include respiratory problems, diabetes, and many forms of cancers. Much research has been conducted on these issues, however, the producers deny any correlation between the two.

Cancer is one of the number one complaints on these GMO’s. Much research indicates that these pesticides directly cause cancer, however, it is over time and exposure to these products. Animals were first tested with these chemicals, and it revealed these health risks (Ferrer et al., 2005). However, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, still approved these methods for food and drink production. Once allowed, studies were conducted on humans alike, and results yielded the same. Still, even after these discoveries, these products remain in supermarkets throughout the country. However, many countries have outlawed these production methods, Europe is one of these countries that outlaw the use of these methods (Bonny, 2003).

Europeans have noticed the negative effects of agriculture in the most technological form. Which is the utilization of science and technology to enhance products by genetic modification forms. Although these methods deem to be more cost effective, farmers understand that these products are not safe for consumption. Which is why the country does not allow this to happen, however, the United States allows consumers to eat these products because they have deemed them as safe. Although, they are far from safe, a lot of money would be lost if these methods were banned here (Bonny,2003). I remember watching a documentary called Food, Inc. This documentary portrayed the food production in America and how the system worked. This documentary showed light into many topics I touched upon within this counterargument. One of which was about the strict use of GMO’s in the food monopoly.

The company Monsanto controls most of the corn and rice produced in the United States. They actually developed a mechanism for seeds, so that the seed disintegrates, rather than flourishes. This is quite significant, because who knows what processes or chemicals are involved to make this unnatural thing happen. This film also illustrated how companies such as Monsanto will do anything to hide the truth from consumers. There were cases of news stations investigating on the effects of these chemicals trying to reveal the true harm of the situations. The people involved with these investigations were both physically and vocally warned not to reveal this information. However, Canada warned its citizens of these harms and urged them not to purchase such products. So, both Europe and Canada told inhabitants of these issues, but the United States willingly produces these products on a large scale.

This information regarding GMO’s and their applications was provided to prove a specific goal or purpose. Which is to show that even with eliminating meat in one’s diet, that the person will still be faced with additives and so forth. It is inevitable, only with the utilization of organic diets, which are extremely expensive. And even then, are we aware of the practices utilized. The food industry is quite greedy, whether it be with meat and dairy, or fruits and vegetables.

Eliminating meat from one’s diet can be extremely dangerous to health. It can bring about health issues, such as anemia and diabetes as well. It also brings upon high price tags, that most consumers cannot afford. I am not stating that one should consume lots of meat, because that is certainly unhealthy as well. However, one should use moderation in their diets. By sticking to the food pyramid guidelines, a person can maintain good health. The science based pyramid shows consumers exactly what should be included in their diets, humans are meant to eat meat. Meat has been consumed throughout history, it is only modern days that people have been shifting to new diets.


  1. Bonny, S. (2003). Why are most Europeans opposed to GMOs?: Factors explaining rejection in France and Europe. Electronic journal of biotechnology, 6(1), 7-8.
  2. Craig, W. J. (1994). Iron status of vegetarians. The American Journal of clinical nutrition, 59(5), 1233S-12375.
  3. De Vendômois, J. S., Roullier, F., Cellier, D., & Séralini, G. E. (2009). A comparison of the effects of three GM corn varieties on mammalian health. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 5(7), 706.
  4. Ferrer, I., Thurman, E. M., & Fernández-Alba, A. R. (2005). Quantitation and accurate mass analysis of pesticides in vegetables by LC/TOF-MS. Analytical chemistry, 77(9), 2818 2825.
  5. Hanson, J., Dismukes, R., Chambers, W., Greene, C., & Kremen, A. (2004). Risk and risk management in organic agriculture: Views of organic farmers. Renewable agriculture and food systems, 19(4), 218-227.
  6. McAfee, A. J., McSorley, E. M., Cuskelly, G. J., Moss, B. W., Wallace, J. M., Bonham, M. P., & Fearon, A. M. (2010). Red meat consumption: An overview of the risks and benefits. Meat science, 84(1), 1-13.
  7. Padel, S., & Foster, C. (2005). Exploring the gap between attitudes and behaviour: Understanding why consumers buy or do not buy organic food. British food journal, 107(8), 606-625.

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The Issues in Vegetarian Diets and the Importance of Meat in Our Diets. (2021, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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