Vegetarian Makes You Mental? Not So Fast.

Yes. There is a link between a vegetarian eating pattern and measures of depression as well as anxiety (most recently published here) in a large group of Americans, evidently pining away for their 40 ounce porterhouse, KFC Double Down, and daily half-a-cow sized burger.

But wait. This study analyzed a bunch of Britons and says nay, a vegetarian eating pattern was not associated with depressive symptoms at all. Is that because they’re already mental, so you won’t see a difference based on their eating styles? Or maybe there just wasn’t anything to be sad about, when giving up their meats?

And right across the North Sea, a large group of Germans in this study did show a relationship between going vegetarian and what the researchers termed “mental disorders”. Perhaps it was the agonizing loss of the schnizle and spatzle and bratwurst and everyone’s favorite, schweinshaxe … that’s getting them down?

What does it all mean? Not much at this point.

Maybe there is a reverse correlation. In other words, eating a vegetarian diet may not impact depression, but being depressed may get people to try this diet?

Maybe the Germans and Americans didn’t factor out all the factors and — as explicitly stated in the UK study — once that is done, there is no relationship between them.

Maybe there is an effect, but for some cultures and not others; some age ranges and not others; or maybe vegetarian eating actually can lead to the nutrient deficiencies that can exacerbate depression, etc., but only if you don’t attend to your nutritional status — so you just do it wrong.

In any case, this is a great example of a nutritional issue to bookmark, but not to get too worked up about until they all sort it out. By that time, you’ll be 90 and can read all about it from your retirement home.

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