Is it possible to maintain health by giving up meat

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Vegetarianism, raw food diet and fasting – three common reasons to change the usual diet of modern people. In the Russian context, the deficit of animal products, to replace which are difficult, if not impossible, leads to a deficiency of vitamin B12, iron, and, oddly enough, cholesterol. To eating habits are not turned into serious health problems, experts advise to be attentive to their diet and occasionally blood tests.

The main problem vegetarians and raw foodists

Russian climate and has historically been the availability of products, which are difficult to replace without harm to the body, have no to vegetarianism, experts warn. On the market, however, today there are numerous supplements for the adherents of these diets, but the digestibility of nutrients of different people is different. Therefore, refusing animal food, is regularly monitored laboratory parameters of health. What, said the “Mednovosti” medical Director of the laboratory network KDL, doctor of clinical laboratory diagnostics Olga Malinovskaya.

Olga Malinovskaya. Photo: from the personal archive of O. Malynovska


The iron in the body can be reserved only in a complex with proteins, and its small reserves, especially in women. Poor protein diet has a negative impact on the digestibility and metabolism of iron. Only a few weeks a vegetarian diet can cause a decrease of iron in the blood, the more that compounds of iron absorbed from plant foods is much worse than from animal products. The control of this parameter vegetarians require not less than once in six months, so as to restore iron levels with the help of special supplements may be required.

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

Mainly vitamin B12 can be obtained from animal products – meat and offal of animals, seafood, milk, cheese, and thus it is not synthesized in the body. The content of this vitamin is not reduced immediately. Consumption of vitamin B12 is not great, and the stock is vital, so the true deficit is quite rare. However, in people suffering from chronic gastritis, absorption of vitamin B12 from food is impaired. In such a situation, a vegetarian diet leads to beriberi. Absolute deficiency can occur in vegetarians and vegans who adhere to restrictions more than 1-1. 5 years. This also applies to infants fed the milk of mothers vegetarian. Vitamin B12 deficiency makes itself felt by poverty of attention, apathy and reduced performance. Often B12 deficiency many people do not pay attention, as your condition associated with external causes, e.g. heavy workload, however, the continuing decline in the level of cyanocobalamin leads to anemia.

Sex hormones

Cholesterol necessary for synthesis of sex hormones, so severe restrictions in the intake of fats and carbohydrates affect the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Gynecologists-endocrinologists often diagnosed for vegetarian hormonal changes, sometimes critical. Another important factor in maintaining normal hormonal levels and the menstrual cycle in women a healthy weight. The weight loss below 47-45 kg can cause serious disorders, while the restoration will require a long time.


More than 100 catalytic reactions occur with the participation of zinc, a deficiency of this substance negatively affects cellular metabolism. Unlike other elements, the zinc is not stored by the body for future use, so an adult is constantly required supply of food. Zinc deficiency first appears on bestadultsite tissues: the skin and the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, without adequate zinc intake is suffering immune system and may disrupt spermatogenesis. Zinc is also important for nursing mothers as it is required for the proper development of the child. This trace mineral also mainly found in foods of animal origin and seafood. Green vegetables zinc is absorbed much worse, since a large number of plant fiber and phytin violate the absorption of zinc in the intestine.


In addition, all known functions of calcium in maintaining bone this object has several important functions in the body, for example, calcium is necessary for transmission of neural signals, muscle function and hormone secretion. Calcium in large quantities is contained in cheese, milk, and cheese, if they refuse, then fill this element from other sources is very difficult. Especially the absence of threat for postmenopausal women. In addition, catches of the modern city, when a person is literally “white light does not see” problems with the absorption of calcium may be associated with vitamin d deficiency.

Post and razgulina

Depending on the strictness imposed on itself restrictions for fasting people face the same problems as vegetarians. But, that’s what causes the greatest harm – a sharp return to normal eating mode after a long period of restrictions. “Every year at Easter razgulina adds work to the doctors of “Ambulance”, – says the Director. – People get acute diseases of the pancreas, gallbladder and liver, after going back to the fatty and rich in protein food”. This applies mostly to older people and those suffering from pancreatitis and cholecysto-pancreatitis. And, going to fast, should take this into account. Identifying exocrine pancreatic insufficiency requires a comprehensive laboratory diagnostics, not only of pancreatic enzymes (amylase and lipase blood test) and some other laboratory tests.

What to replace the meat

Dietary newsletter of the National Institute of health, USA provides the following data on the content of plant foods substances which are rich in food of animal origin .


In large enough quantities contained in white beans, lower in other legumes, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, lentils, spinach and cashews.

Vitamin B12

Its content in the products of non-animal origin are too small to count on them as a source of vitamin.


It is useless to try to compensate for the calcium nuts. But you can try calcium-fortified soy milk.


In the greatest quantity is contained in oysters. From non-animal products – cashews, almonds, legumes.

“Good” cholesterol (high density lipoprotein)

His assist increase fatty foods such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and other whole grain products, and dark chocolate with a high cocoa content.

The contents of basic substances in plant foods is insignificant, and the preparation of a balanced diet and sticking to it is quite problematic to draw conclusions of American scientists. So vegetarians easier to take supplements.

Vegetarianism and children

Especially negative impact of non-standard eating behavior of families with young children, says head. the Department of nutrition of healthy and sick child fgbu “Scientific center of children’s health”, Professor Tatiana Borovik.

Tatiana Borovik. Photo: from personal archive of T. Borovik

“Animal protein is amino acids, very important for the structure of organs and systems. And the meat is practically the only source of heme iron, which affects brain development, cognitive function. And depriving a child of meat, we initially put him in a difficult position, impair intellectual development, which later will be difficult to recover. Meat contains vitamin B12. Fish is a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. dairy products do calcium and vitamins B2. And if the parents advocate vegetarianism and do not want to make exceptions for the child, they must give the child the missing micronutrients in the form of chemical preparations by mouth or intramuscularly. And here it to choose what is best for a child,” warns pediatrician.

As to the fasting, it is exclusion from the diet of many products, which is also harmful to the child, like vegetarianism. “In pre-revolutionary Russia to feed the children was started only on the third day after birth, did not give dairy products during lent – like boletus. The result of malnutrition and infections to years lived only 25 children out of 100 children”.

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