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Why vegetarians and vegans are far more likely to be depressed than meat-eaters

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Why vegetarians and vegans are far more likely to be depressed than meat-eaters

New research reveals Australians who are vegetarian or vegan are three times more likely to have depression than the general population.

About one-in-10 Australians have depression, but for the 12 per cent of Australians who don’t eat meat, that figure is more than 30 per cent.

Researcher in nutritional psychiatry at Bond University, Dr Megan Lee, says there are two likely reasons for the prevalence of depression among those who don’t eat meat.

The first is overconsumption of highly processed meat alternatives.

“When you’re not eating meat in your diet you need to replace that with something else,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“Most commonly, people turn to these meat alternatives, these processed soy products. Unfortunately these products are high in chemicals and preservatives, and we call them ‘food type substances’ because they do not reflect any type of food.”

The other likely possibility is linked to what motivates people to go meat-free, rather than what they actually consume.

“Some of it’s because of animal concerns and because of environmental concerns, and these might be the actual reasons that the depression rates are higher, not because of the actual diet that they’re eating but because they have concerns about things that are external to themselves,” Dr Lee said.

Press PLAY below to hear why those with a plant-based diet are more likely than meat-eaters to be depressed

Neil Mitchell
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