The pros and cons of ditching burgers
Vowing to ditch steaks and burgers in favour of a vegetarian lifestyle may have crossed your mind for ethical reasons or because of concerns about red meat and health.
So, what actually happens to your body when you stop eating meat?
You lose weight
A team at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington in the US recently tried pinpoint how much weight a person loses if they switch from being an omnivore to a vegetarian.
The research, which reviewed previous studies and was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, showed particpants who cut meat out of their diets lost around 10lbs on average without monitoring their calorie intake or increasing the amount they exercised.
“The take-home message is that a plant-based diet can help you lose weight without counting calories and without ramping up your exercise routine,” Neal Barnard, M.D., lead author of the study and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University, said at the time.
Your gut bacteria will change
The saying goes you are what you eat, and that relates to your digestive system as much as any other part of your body.
A 2014 study exploring the difference between the gut bacteria found in omnivores, vegans and vegetarians found differences in all three.
However, the biggest variation was between omnivorese and vegans – who don’t consume any animal products whatsoever.
Researchers at City University of New York found that vegans had more protective species of gut bacteria.
You could become deficient in nutrients
A balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can provide enough nutrients with enough planning. But it can be harder to get enough iron, vitamin D and vitamin B12, according to the NHS.
The body recommends eating enough pulses, such as beans and lentils, nuts, fruit, dark green vegetables, wholegrains, and cereals with fortified irons to get enough of the substance.