Making the switch from eating meat to vegetarianism is a difficult one, particularly in families and communities where hunting and eating meat are seen as central to local culture. But for people who care a lot about what they eat and feel repulsed by the way meat is prepared, it’s a worthwhile journey. The question is, what are the pros and cons of making the switch to a vegetarian diet?
The good news is that starting a vegetarian diet can result in a healthier lifestyle that leaves one feeling mentally and physically better than before. But feeling and looking better isn’t predestined by any means — in fact, some people who make the switch to vegetarianism end up feeling much worse than before. That’s why it’s so important to replace meat with plant-based protein sources and avoid overindulging in sugar-laced treats.
1. Pro: Weight Loss Potential
It’s estimated that about one in 50 Americans currently follow a vegetarian diet. Many do this because they believe there’s great potential to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight in being vegetarian. The sad truth is that this is only partly true.
What is true: cutting out meat has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of fat and calories that make their way into our bodies. But that’s only if we replace those lost calories with foods that will keep us full and give us the energy to push forward. In other words, it’s important to replace meat with plant-based proteins and lots of fruits and vegetables rather than sweet-tooth favorites like donuts, cookies, cake, etc. Failing to do so could actually leave one feeling tired and drained of energy, leaving them in a position where exercising seems nearly impossible. In that case, gaining weight may actually be the result of switching to a vegetarian diet.