Is a vegetarian diet healthy?

Perhaps your daughter has just announced that she’s become a vegetarian. You’re concerned and might think that a diet without meat is incomplete – that we need meat to be strong and healthy. This is a myth. Millions of vegetarians all over the world show that meat-eating is not essential for strength.


A vegetarian diet is certainly as healthy as one containing meat; in fact, many studies suggest that vegetarians are healthier (although this may be partly due to other lifestyle factors, such as choosing not to smoke, prompted by or associated with increased thoughtfulness). The British Medical Association stated the following in its report Diet, Nutrition and Health: “Vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, large bowel disorder, and cancers and gallstones. Cholesterol levels tend to be lower.” It also goes on to say that “A vegetarian diet provides all the nutrients required for a healthy diet.”

Physiologically, we are frugivores. This biological term means that our bodies are adapted for a diet of fruit, root vegetables, nuts, and seeds – not for eating meat (carnivore), nor eating grass (herbivore), nor everything (omnivore). Our teeth are not designed for tearing at flesh. Also, we have a very long gut – whereas meat-eating animals have an extremely short gut, enabling them to get rid of the toxic waste products of flesh as soon as possible. Therefore, a vegetarian diet is consistent with our physiology.