The Hidden Complexities of a Vegetarian Diet

Key Takeaways:

  • According to a study, adolescents and young adults following a vegetarian diet may be more prone to using unhealthy methods of weight control such as diet pills, laxatives and induced vomiting.
  • The issue isn’t vegetarianism itself, but rather adolescents trying to regulate their weight, potentially seeing vegetarianism as a method to do so.
  • Despite these findings, a balanced vegetarian diet is among the healthiest dietary patterns, decreases the chance of being overweight, and likely results in healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • It is important to counsel young adult vegetarians about proper nutrition and meal planning, keeping in mind the potential risks and benefits associated with a vegetarian diet.
  • The study also found a possible correlation between former vegetarians and unhealthy weight-control behaviors as well as an increased risk of binge eating among current vegetarians.

Though it is generally regarded for its wide range of health advantages, there’s more to a vegetarian diet than meets the eye. Latest studies imply that an inclination towards this kind of diet might indeed signify a concealed eating disorder.

In Depth Analysis on Vegetarianism

The extensive study published previously in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that adolescents and young adults who were vegetarians were reported to have used unhealthy methods for weight control twice as much as their non-vegetarian peers. These methods comprise the use of diet pills, laxatives, and diuretics. It also includes triggering vomiting to control weight.

A Hidden Health Implication?

“There’s an obscure aspect to vegetarianism”, asserted Dr. David L. Katz, head of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, adding his independent input.

“Adolescents following a vegetarian diet, according to the study, are more susceptible to disordered eating and concrete eating disorders. However, it’s important to note that the problem in this situation isn’t vegetarianism, rather, it’s usually the opposite: Adolescents looking to regulate their diet and weight might regard vegetarianism as a plausible solution amongst other harmful attempts.”

Necessary Guidelines and Precautions

Katz also stated that a balanced vegetarian diet counts among the healthiest dietary patterns. Furthermore, the study offers several benefits of such a diet. He proclaimed, “Adolescent vegetarians were less likely to be overweight than their omnivorous counterparts. If we had the metrics, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels would likely be healthier as well. Consuming primarily plants – and at times only plants – is beneficial for us and is definitely healthier than the typical American diet.”

Ramona Robinson-O’Brien, the study’s principal investigator, and an assistant professor at the Nutrition Department at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, also concurs with the aforementioned advantages of a vegetarian diet. She adds, “Generally, the majority of adolescents and young adults today could benefit from a revamp in their dietary habits. However, our subjects who currently observe a vegetarian diet might have an increased risk of binge eating. On the other hand, former vegetarians might be prone to unhealthy weight-control behaviors.”

Topics on Binge Eating and Weight Control

The research was carried out on a group of 2,516 teenagers and young adults in a study called Project EAT-II: Eating Among Teens. All the participants went through an in-depth interview about binge eating and the control over their eating habits, along with if they have resorted to any extreme weight-control habits. According to the data collected, 21 percent of the adolescents who were vegetarians admitted to unhealthy weight-control tactics compared to 10 percent of adolescents who were never vegetarians.

“When counseling young adult vegetarians about proper nutrition and meal planning, it’s significant to be aware of the possible health benefits and potential risks associated with a vegetarian diet,” Robinson-O’Brien concluded.

For more on healthy eating guidelines, check out the resources provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Greetings from the trails and tracks! I'm Tim, but most folks know me as TJ. I've spent the last 5 years diving deep into the world of content writing, with a particular penchant for nutrition and the intricate science behind it. Every bite we take, every nutrient we consume, tells a unique story – and I'm here to unravel it for you.Beyond my keyboard, you'll often find me on a winding hiking trail or pushing my limits on a long-distance run. These pursuits not only keep me fit but constantly remind me of the vital role nutrition plays in fueling our passions and adventures.Through my writings, I aim to bridge the gap between complex nutritional science and everyday eating habits. Whether you're looking for the latest research updates, practical diet tips, or stories from the running track, I'm committed to serving you content that's as engaging as it is enlightening.So, lace up your shoes, grab a healthy snack, and join me in this exploration of food, science, and the great outdoors. Together, we'll journey towards better health and incredible experiences!
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