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Posted by2 months ago
Helpful (Pro)Silver3ShockedAll-Seeing Upvote

Association between meatless diet and depression: Participants who excluded meat from their diet were found to have a higher prevalence of depressive episodes as compared to participants who consumed meat. This association is independent of socioeconomic, lifestyle factors,and nutrient deficiencies.

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level 1
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level 1
· 2 mo. ago
GoldBrighten My DayTo The StarsWholesome2Silver5

This isn't the first study.

This meta analysis of 13 studies showed a correlation between depression and meatless

This meta analysis of 10 studies showed no effect.

This meta analysis of 23 studies showed some association but inconsistent results.

This study found association with depression for people in the US and not Asia.

This study showed an improvement in depression in taiwanese men .

There are many more. Overall it seems country specific, and likely due to social/ethical factors but this is pretty weak data. More RCTs are needed.

level 2
· 2 mo. ago
Brighten My DayWholesomeTake My EnergyAll-Seeing Upvote
PhD | Neuroscience

These results are consistent with a broader literature on higher depression in subjects whose lifestyle choices are not broadly supported by society.

level 2

I imagine there is also a relation between vegetarianism and veganism in the West that tends to fall along with ethical and ecological concerns.
People that adopt these diets might also have higher likelihoods to be climate conscious and thus more anxious about the way our world is, with ecosystem collapse and ethical issues in factory farming or further.

It seems that when it shifts to countries that have longstanding cultures of vegetarianism, these effects disappear

level 2

Thanks for condensing it so well!

level 2

It's not particularly eccentric to assume that animals have some moral worth and that the suffering we cause them is usually horrible.

Once you factor in the numbers--that humans slaughter somewhere around 100,000,000,000 (that's a hundred billion) animals each year, it seems like it probably should mess with our heads at least a little that humans cause that much suffering.

I mean I don't know if I, or anyone, is qualified to equate such things but it's hard for me from a purely logical point of view to see animal agriculture as anything but the worst atrocity ever committed by many orders of magnitude.

So yeah, the social factors here are quite stark. Some of us, right or wrong, are basically living in a society that has completely normalized something that is far worse than any horror humanity has ever committed.

level 2

It seems likely that ppl who are aware of the realities of commercial farming and climate change are more likely to be vegetarian and have good reason to be depressed.

level 2

Anecdotally I would think it’s social. I don’t eat meat because I’m concerned about both the environment and animal welfare. It’s pretty depressing to understand the reality of eating meat and still have to watch people eat meat with almost every meal.

I would like to see a study of if vegetarianism is associated with higher levels of empathy, because I’d guess that’s a part of it. It’s also socially acceptable to bully vegetarians and vegans which could contribute to depression or social isolation when people are younger.

level 2

Almost like realizing that it's unethical to eat meat and having to witness the immense scale of death on a daily basis makes one sad. Shocking.

level 2

And from personal anecdotal experience - the country of India and Nepal have vast numbers of vegetarians. Do the vegetarians there have higher rates of depression as a whole?

Because otherwise social acceptance factors can totally come in. I mean Brazil is big on meat and being vegetarian there could be more stressful and even social outcast.

Imagine travelling the world as a vegetarian. Constantly trying to communicate in a different language trying to determine what's in the food. That's stressful.

level 2

makes a lot of sense that it's country specific - countries (like the US) where meat is highly prevalent and normalised - where you have to work harder and go out of your way to find vegetarian options - would represent a higher cognitive load, on a daily basis, just to fulfill a basic requirement...

as opposed to countries where meat is much more of a delicacy and it's the other way around (and so much more expensive)

I'm reminded of the HALF index (Human Appropriation of Land for Food) which shows if everyone in the world was on a typical American diet, we would need to use approximately 140% of all the habitable land on the planet (we currently utilise about half) in order to feed everyone

if the entire world was on a typical Indian diet, we'd need around 20%


81 more replies

level 1

This study was done in Brazil, where vegetarianism is not particularly common, but I’d be curious to see if the results could be replicated in a country where vegetarianism was closer to the norm, like India.

level 2

Yes it would be very interesting to see the results of a similar study conducted in India. I'm Indian and I have been a vegetarian all my life.

Vegetarianism is very different here when compared to the west in general. Most Indian vegetarians are vegetarians due to religious norms also coupled the feeling of not causing harm to sentient creatures, so quite a large chunk of the population may not be aware of the exact way in which animals are slaughtered in slaughter houses as they usually would not go out on their own and research about the issue.

And to top it all out being a vegetarian is very cheap and not really far-fetched from societies norms, well unless your a vegan maybe, that would certainly turn heads cause most Indians love consuming milk based products.

level 2
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

Its very difficult to be vegetarian or vegan in Brazil. I'll compare to the US because these are the 2 places I know best. There are way less options for vegans or vegetarians in Brazil. You can't just go to the grocery store and get alternatives to meat and its a very social thing (eating meat).

Edit: yes I meant buying fake meat at the store. Obviously people can get beans but thats what they have to eat every day?


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Created Oct 18, 2006