Brazilian researchers have highlighted the fact that vegetarians are more often prone to depressive states. The cause, however, is not to be found in food.
If omnivores and advocates of meat at all meals thought they had found an argument against vegetarianism, they might be dead. Indeed, if a team of Brazilian researchers has indeed found a correlation between depression and the fact of being vegetarianit would in no way be because of any nutritional deficiency, but for a much more complex reason.
Vegetarians more susceptible to depression
This study by ELSA Brazil looked at the eating habits of 14,216 Brazilians between the ages of 35 and 74. The aim was to correlate practicing vegetarianism with an increased risk of depression.
The result is quite edifying since the researchers have indeed found an association between the fact of practicing a diet without meat and the fact of undergoing depressive episodes. Participants in the study who did not eat meat suffered 2.37 times more depressive episodes than “omnivorous” people. Episodes measured using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R) tool.
Nutritional deficiencies not responsible
On closer inspection, scientists determined that this prevalence of depression among vegetarians was in no way due to nutritional deficiencies. The reason is actually much more complex.
The first factor would be a greater empathy of vegetarians in relation to the animal cause. The fact of being confronted with the violence of images of factory farms or slaughterhouses in certain people who are more sensitive to depression would also push them towards vegetarianism.
The social exclusion of vegetarians
One of the other factors noted by the researchers would be a certain feeling of social exclusion among vegetarians, especially when they regularly meet people who eat everything. Taunts, value judgments or misunderstandings from those around you can also promote the appearance of depressive symptoms.
If you have chosen to stop eating meat, you can therefore be reassured that you will not automatically fall into a deep depression. It could, however, be beneficial to ward off the risk of developing certain cancers.