Does Vegetarianism Depress You Or Are Vegetarians Just Nuts?

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Interesting research here looking at rates of mental health – specifically depression – in vegetarians. That rate is higher than in the general population. So, yes we’re right and have been all along – vegetarians are not as other men. We do still have a certain problem here though:

Results
Vegetarians [n = 350 (3.6% of sample)], had higher depression scores on average than non-vegetarians (mean difference 0.96 points [95%CI + 0.53, + 1.40]) and a greater risk for EPDS scores above 10 (adjusted OR = 1.67 [95% CI: 1.14,2.44]) than non-vegetarians after adjustment for potential confounding factors.

Our problem being, well, why? One idea discussed is the thought that there’s some nutritional deficiency in the standard vegetarian diet which leads to depression. One not discussed but which makes sense is that the contemplation of a life containing copious tofu and no bacon is depressing. Well, that obviously makes sense, clearly.

But there is the other possibility of course:

however reverse causation cannot be ruled out.

Nutters become vegetarians, therefore more nutters among vegetarians is not a surprise.

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Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Isolating different types of vegetarians is probably needed to understand whether of not vegetarianism is symptomatic or causative in respect of mental well being. The Hindu vegetarians from birth and the lefty vegetarian from teenage years need to be separated in studies. Becoming a vegetarian in the UK at least, generally means going against family tradition, which is in itself a possible indicator of neurosis. Being hyper-sensitive to suffering in animals, although perhaps morally laudable, is an indicator of neuroticism. Being deficient in vitamin B12, a not uncommon problem for vegetarians, can cause erratic mood swings, which of course are… Read more »

Q46
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Q46

Warning! Religion: contains nuts.