Meat-eaters vs Vegetarians

Meat-eaters versus vegetarians, who is healthier?


Here’s another false claim that I will crush with facts below: ‘’Despite all the propaganda, there isn’t any evidence that vegan diets are any better than other diets. Most of the studies are observational in nature’’

vegan vs meatOne reason why people go vegan or vegetarian is to lose weight.  Is there any evidence that vegans or vegetarians are skinnier than meat-eaters? YES! Tons of evidence shows a very clear correlation between the amount of animal products we eat and how skinny or fat we are on average.1-19

Maintaining a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9) means that the bad things leading to disease like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation are much less likely to happen.  So a major advantage that vegans have is the ability to stay slim.  There are many other advantages to eating plant-based meals too.

Eating mostly whole plant foods can be a struggle.  Living in a place constantly surrounded by cake, cheese, creamy and rich desserts, avoiding dairy is difficult.  However, it may be a worthwhile commitment-even the Paleo diet rejects dairy products, which is one reason that it can result in weight loss albeit not necessarily permanent weight loss.

Are vegetarians missing out on important nutrients? No! Quite the opposite actually, vegetarians typically get more nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, than meat-eaters.19-25 In other words, the nutritional quality of the average vegetarian diet is higher than that of meat-eaters.18,23-25 Vegans can get enough key nutrients like iron, calcium and vitamin B12 as long as they eat plenty of veggies, sufficient calories to meet their energy needs, and eat some fortified foods like cereal and soy milk. Even when vegetarians are matched to non-vegetarians for gender, age, and lifestyle characteristics, they have a nutrient dense diet closer to current dietary recommendations for healthful eating.24

Compared to Meat-eaters, Vegetarians eat more21-22:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Fiber


Many of the high fat foods that Americans eat are meat or dairy products, which contribute no fiber and a majority of the cholesterol in the typical diet. Some of the most popular foods can be substituted with low-calorie or low-fat alternatives.  These substitutes also may have more fiber and less cholesterol, which is important for combating hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.



Hamburger 3ozBuffalo_Patty_BurgerCalories: 166Fat g: 12Protein g: 14Cholesterol mg:55 Meatless Boca Burger 71goriginal-vegan-burgerCalories: 70Fat g: .5Protein g:13Cholesterol mg: 0
Chicken Nuggets Mcdonalds 2.3ozCalories: 188Fat g: 12Protein g: 9Cholesterol mg: 27 Soy Boca Nuggets 87gCalories: 180Fat g: 7Protein g:14Cholesterol mg: 0
BBQ Ribs ‘Omaha Steaks’100gCalories: 210Fat g: 12Protein g: 10Cholesterol mg: 55 Meatless BBQ Riblets 100gCalories: 150Fat g: 5Protein g: 12Cholesterol mg: 0
Italian Sausage 2.4ozCalories: 230Fat g: 18Protein g: 13Cholesterol mg: 38 Tofurkey Sausage 3.5ozCalories: 270Fat g: 13Protein g: 29Cholesterol mg: 0
Hot DogCalories: 137Fat g: 12Protein g: 5Cholesterol mg: 23 Tofu Dog 42gCalories: 60Fat g: 2.5Protein g: 8Cholesterol mg: 0
Meat Balls Armour 85gCalories: 320Fat g: 28Protein g: 11Cholesterol mg: 20 Meatless Balls GardeinCalories: 160Fat g: 6Protein g: 17Cholesterol mg: 0


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  2. Janelle KC, Barr SI. Nutrient intakes and eating behavior scores of vegetarian and nonvegetarian women. J Am Diet Assoc 1995;95(2):180-6.
  3. Cade JE, Burley VJ, Greenwood DC. The UK women’s cohort study: a comparison of vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eaters. Public Health Nutr 2004;7(7):871-8.
  4. Rosell M, Appleby P, Spencer E, Key T. Weight gain over 5 years in 21,966 meat-eating, fish-eating, vegetarian, and vegan men and women in EPIC-Oxford. Int J Obes 2006;30:1389-1396.
  5. Robinson-O’Brien R, Perry CL, Wall MM, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D. Adolescent and young adults vegetarianism: better dietary intake and weight outcomes but increased risk of disordered eating behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc 2009;109(4):648-655.
  6. Kennedy ET, Bowman SA, Spence JT, Freedman M, King J. Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity. J Am Diet Assoc 2001;101(4):411-20.
  7. Tonstad SI, Stewart K, Oda K, Batech M, Herring RP, Fraser GE. Vegetarian diets and incidence of diabetes in the Adventist Health Study-2. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc 2013;23(4):292-9.
  8. Chiu TH, Huang HY, Chiu YF, Pan WH, Kao HY, Chiu JP, et al. Taiwanese vegetarians and omnivores: dietary consumption, prevalence of diabetes and IFG. PloS One 2014;9(2):e88547.
  9. Chen CW, Lin YL, Lin TK, Lin CT, Chen BC, Lin CL. Total cardiovascular risk profile of Taiwanese vegetarians. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008;62(1):138-44.
  10. Newby PK, Tucker KL, Wolk A. Risk of overweight and obesity among semivegetarian, lactovegetarian, and vegan women. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81(6):1267-74.
  11. Gammon CS, von Hurst PR, Coad J, Kruger R, Stonehouse W. Vegetarianism, vitamin B12 status, and insulin resistance in a group of predominately overweight/obese South Asian women. Nutr 2012;28(1):20-4.
  12. Waldmann A, Koschizke JW, Leitzmann C, Hahn A. Dietary intakes and lifestyle factors of a vegan population in Germany: results from the German Vegan Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003;57(8):947-55.
  13. Change-Claude J, Hermann S, Eilber U, Steindorf K. Lifestyle determinants and mortality in German vegetarians and health-conscious persons: results of a 21-year follow-up. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2005;14(4):963-8.
  14. Spencer EA Int, Appleby PN, Davey GK, Key TJ. Diet and body mass index in 38000 EPIC-Oxford meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003;27(6):728-34.
  15. Le LT, Sabate J. Beyond meatless, the health effects of vegan diets: findings from the Adventist cohorts. Nutrients 2014;6(6):2131-47.
  16. Gilsing AMJ, Crowe FL, Lloyd-Wright Z, Sanders TAB, Appleby PN, Allen NE, Key TJ. Serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in British male omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans: results from a cross sectional analysis of the EPIC Oxford cohort study. Eur J Clin Nutr 2010;64(9):933-939.
  17. Bradbury KE, Crowe FL, Appleby PN, Schmidt JA, Travis RC, Key TJ. Serum concentrations of cholesterol, apolipoprotein A-1 and apolipoprotein B in a total of 1694 meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Eur J Clin Nutr 2014;68(2):178-83.
  18. Clarys P, Deliens T, Huybrechts I, Deriemaeker P, Vanaelst B, Keyzer W, et al. Comparison of nutritional quality of the vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian and omnivorous diet. Nutrients 2014;6(3):1318-1332.
  19. Rizzo NS, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Sabate J, Fraser GE. Nutrient profiles of vegetarian and nonvegetarian dietary patterns. J Acad Nutr Diet 2013;113(12):1610-9.
  20. Young VR, Pellett PL. Plant protein in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;1203S-12S.
  21. Farmer B, Larson BT, Fulgoni VL, Rainville AJ, Liepa GU. A vegetarian dietary pattern as a nutrient-dense approach to weight management: an analysis of the national health and nutrition examination survey 1999-2004. J Am Diet Assoc 2011;111(6):819-27.
  22. Rizzo NS, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Sabate J, Fraser GE. Nutrient profiles of vegetarian and nonvegetarian dietary patterns. J Acad Nutr Diet 2013;113(12):1610-9.
  23. Kennedy ET, Bowman SA, Spence JT, Freedman M, King J. Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity. J Am Diet Assoc 2001;101(4):411-20.
  24. Clarys P, Deriemaeker P, Huybrechts I, Hebbelinck M, Mullie P. Dietary pattern analysis: a comparison between matched vegetarian and omnivorous subjects. Nutr 2013;12:82.
  25. Chiu TH, Huang HY, Chiu YF, Pan WH, Kao HY, Chiu JP, Lin MN, Lin CL. Taiwanese vegetarians and omnivores: dietary composition, prevalence of diabetes and IFG. PLoS One 2014;9(2):e88547
  26. National Nutrient Database: