Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 3rd, 2012
The downside of vegetarianism

The idea of eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains not only sounds healthy, it is healthy. And there are multitudes of studies to prove that.

But if you think the word vegetarianism is synonymous with healthy, think again.

Experts say the healthy part of the word comes from the prefix “veg,” which refers, of course, to vegetables and plants. The problem is that too many vegetarians load up their diet with high fat cheeses, simple carbs like breads, crackers and chips and not enough of the fresh, healthy stuff. In actuality, their diet is lacking in essential nutrients that many omnivores get.

The result? A diet deficient in vitamins and minerals.

A new study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition underscores that vegetarians need to supplement their diets with Vitamin B-12 and EFAs, especially if their diet doesn’t include nuts and seeds.

A shocking discovery was the incidence in colorectal cancer in vegetarians over omnivores–39 percent higher, in fact. Since eating red meat leads to higher colorectal cancer rates, this was particularly confusing. Researchers concluded that sample of vegetarians was not eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh produce.

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