University of Graz Study Finds Vegetarians Are Unhealthier, More Mentally Disturbed Than Meat-Lovers

It’s no secret that many vegetarians are also radical environmentalists and climate alarmists who are obsessed and hysterical about the planet burning up. Perhaps the University of Graz in Austria has discovered one reason why: their “unhealthy” diet.

Steak

Study shows that big meat-eaters are healthiest. Photo credit: AlphaCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

A new University of Graz study concludes that vegetarians are more often ill and have a lower quality of living than meat-eaters. According to the German press release, vegetarians “have cancer and heart attacks more often”. The release also says that they show more psychological disorders than meat eaters. Consequently, the report writes, they are a greater burden on the health care system.

According to the press release the scientists evaluated data from the Austrian Health Interview Survey (AT-HIS), which is also part of an important and valuable EU survey (European Health Interview Survey).

The scientists examined a total of 1320 persons who were divided up into 4 groups of 330 persons each. All groups were comparable with respect to gender, age, and socio-economic status. The study also accounted for smoking and physical activity. Also the BMI was within the normal range for all four groups (22.9 – 24.9). The only thing that really was different among the four groups was the diet. The four groups were: 1) vegetarians, 2) meat-eaters with lots of fruit and veggies, 3) little meat-eaters and 4) big meat-eaters. More than three quarters of the participants were women (76.4%).

Vegetarians plagued by significantly more chronic illnesses

The press release states that the results contradict the common cliché that meat-free diets are healthier. Vegetarians have twice as many allergies as big meat-eaters do (30.6% to 16.7%) and they showed 166% higher cancer rates (4.8% to 1.8%). Moreover the scientists found that vegans had a 150% higher rate of heart attacks (1.5% to 0.6%). In total the scientists looked at 18 different chronic illnesses. Compared to the big meat-eaters, vegetarians were hit harder in 14 of the 18 illnesses (78%) which included asthma, diabetes, migraines and osteoporosis [1, p.4, Table 3].

The Medical University of Graz confirms findings by the University of Hildesheim: More frequent psychological disorders among vegetarians, the press release writes.

The roots of anxiety and depression?

In the analysis, the University of Graz found that vegetarians were also twice as likely to suffer for anxiety or depressions than big meat eaters (9.4% to 4.5%). That result was confirmed by the University of Hildesheim, which found that vegetarians suffered significantly more from depressions, anxiety, psychosomatic complaints and eating disorders [2]. The U of Graz scientists also found that vegetarians are impacted more by ilnessses and visit the doctor more frequently [1, p. 3, Table 2].

Big meat-eaters were also found to have a “significantly better quality of life in all categories”, the study found. The four categories examined were: physical and psychological health, social relationships and environment-related life quality [1, p. 5, Table 4].

Dubious science everywhere

Again this is not the first study that has recently contradicted the claims that vegetarians are healthier. The world’s largest study on nutrition (EPIC) indicated that vegetarians in general tend to die earlier [3].

Recently experts have shown that the alleged health benefits of a vegetarian diet are myths and fairy tales. For example, according to Professor Ulrich Voderholzer, Director and Chief Physician of the Schön Klinik Roseneck and an expert for eating disorders, promises made by vegetarian organisations “are not scientifically supported.”

The University of Graz press release writes [4]:

It’s more about an ideological message that suggests false promises.“

The press release also adds [5]:

Concerning cancer prevention through fruits and vegetables, Prof. Rudolf Kaaks of the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ recently stated: ‘There’s no relationship, zero-point-zero.’“

Gee, it all sounds as bad as the evidence we see linking bad weather to CO2.

Not only are greens duped about climate science, many are also duped about nutritional science. Granola-eating tree-huggers are turning out to be the most ill-informed people on the planet.

 

67 responses to “University of Graz Study Finds Vegetarians Are Unhealthier, More Mentally Disturbed Than Meat-Lovers”

  1. mpcraig

    I can view this study in a another way. As with climate, correlation alone is difficult to establish attribution.

    In my view, limited as it may be in this particular field of study, it just may be that people who are anxious, stressed, depressed, etc. are more likely convert to vegetarianism. And I guess in a similar vein, they are more likely to be “environmentalists” in the more extreme sense of that term.

    Frankly, I understand that moderating red meat with high animal fat content is a good idea but other meats like fish and chicken are very lean and healthy. It just seems completely irrational to completely cut out all meat and in the vegan case all animal food products (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.).

    I have no problem making a (pre-) judgement (in a vacuum) about a person’s character when I find out they are a vegetarian.

    1. DirkH

      Re lean vs. fat: watch the video I linked to above.
      Chicken is best with the fatty roasted skin!

      1. Stephen Richards

        Try taking the skin off the chick. Salt it a little and put in the oven at 200°C for about 15 to 20 mins until golden.

        Chicken crackling is the result. Or to Europeans, Crispy skin. Delicieuse.

  2. Walter H. Schneider

    >>>…found that vegetarians suffered significantly more from depressions, anxiety, psychosomatic complaints and eating disorders…<<<

    A case can be made for that vegetarianism *is* an eating disorder.

    1. John

      Do vegans have pointed ears?

  3. L Michael Hohmann

    I had a look recently at the ‘you are what you eat’ saying, after stumbling over a banner headline in The Times: WHY CARBS ARE DESTROYING YOUR BRAIN. I put together a short literature search at http://cleanenergypundit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/brain-ology-101-whycarbs-are-destroying.html which I am still pondering over – while sticking to my eating habits as described.

  4. JP

    Living in India with my family for 3 months convinced us all that notwithstanding the fact that vegetarian food can be delicious, that pure vegetarian diets are for the most part unhealthy. On average, the non-veg Indians were taller, thinner, stronger and healthier, and their children had a spark in the eye that the others didn’t.

    In Tamil Nadu state (where Chennai (Madras) is), there is a program to make sure that every schoolkid gets a chicken egg per day. That program has improved children’s health more than any other single program.

  5. John F. Hultquist

    Global warming and related scares push guilt hard because it helps in their fund raising. Once a person incorporates this guilt into their core (and becomes vegetarian, eco-green-loon, wind power crazed, …) they are on the path to psychosomatic illnesses.
    Also, getting proper nutrition is (apparently) possible while being vegetarian. This requires education and cash. My experience is limited but I have encountered those that because of religious belief and being poor raised malnourished children. Alternatively, I know a medical tech with brains and cash who was able to raise a male child that wanted to go veggie – his choice beginning about 15 years ago when he was about 8.
    Perhaps how one arrives at the decision and how well they can carry it off should be used to add more groupings to the research efforts. The mind is a strange thing.
    A book by Alvin Toffler (1970) titled “Future Shock” [“too much change in too short a period of time”] introduced me to psychosomatic illnesses. I followed up on several of his references (well before the internet, so it took some effort) to see if studies really said what he thought they did. His interpretations rang true, and I still see aspects of these issue in some of the elderly I meet.

  6. Mindert Eiting

    Reminds me of a study by our former Professor Diederik Stapel who found that meat eaters were aggressive bastards. The study proved to be among his whole list of frauds discovered afterwards. Presently, he is a taxi driver in Tilburg.

  7. Betapug

    Coming on the heels of the new US study showing no connection between heart disease and consumption of saturated fats, this should raise questions about “settled science” ( the supposed link has been US doctrine since the 1950s) ….but it will not.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbs-against-cardio/

    Many MSM stories headlined with “scientists can’t find the link” or “the link is somewhat less clear” while the metastudy shows that there is not and never has been a connection.

    The reasons why such colossal errors are made and propagate unchallenged for decades are examined here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/science/09tier.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    The points of similarity with climate “science”, even down to curious “outsiders” spotting the obvious, are stunning in their number.

    1. Teala

      Thank you. Who funded this alleged study, cattle barons? What were the cows fed? Were there tremendous hormones fed to them to fatten them, their male babies were taken after birth for veal. They grieve like we do. Were they producing huge amounts of adrenaline due to transport to the slaughter house? And I have so many other questions. I will say this, if my diet was only animal products (the focus seems to be on beef, not sheep or lamb or horse or, or, etc.) I would not be alive. I am hypoglycemic and the brain needs sugar to function. Complex carbohydrates, not enriched or bleached are very important. I worked for a prominent pharmacy and came to appreciate how important it is to recognize and absolutely respect that we are all chemically different. Generic vs brand? It makes a huge difference! In closing by the way, I am not a vegetarian, nor an extremist. And I do not hug trees either. I do eat beef. I eat beef when I know the humane treatment by their farmers. And when I eat meat that is not organic, so to speak, I grow facial hair, due to the hormones that is fed to these cows.

      1. John

        No one can live on a diet of meat only. Buffalo hunters on the Great Plains in the nineteenth century developed scurvey, and often died, when they ate meat only. As far as ethical treatment, I haven’t heard too many complaints from the cows, only from the vegans. As far as the growth of hair, I am sixty three, and I can only wish that were true!

  8. Bob in Castlemaine

    As the saying goes everything in moderation. Here in Australia in recent years the P.C. brigade has had some measure of success flogged the alleged benefits of vegetarianism.
    Someone who has refused to accept this nonsense is one of our national cult heroes, former Australian rules footballer Sam Kekovich, who has campaigned tirelessly to point out the error of our ways. This research could be just the evidence Sam needs to make people realise that it just has to stop!

    1. Streetcred

      ‘Get some pork on your fork’ … stand up a date with Tom Cruise for a lamb roast !

  9. Pointman

    The one stat that’s missing about veggies. Doesn’t take much smarts to sneak up on a cabbage and brain it with a club …

    Pointman

  10. Vegetarians more susceptible to allergies, cancer, heart disease and depression | The k2p blog

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  11. Alfred Alexander

    If it wasn’t for bacon I might be a vegan, not.
    Fat is brain fuel. Eat more fat but watch out
    for the ‘snake oil’ ( by fat I mean real fat not
    fake fat)
    Alfred

  12. Thomas Cardin

    This is bullshit. First of all the study consisted of 1300 ppl. 73% female. What was the selection of people based on? What percent was vegetarian/vegan and how many of them included nutritional shakes in their diet to replace the vitamins/minerals they missed by not eating animal-products? When did they start their diet? When I became a vegan I was sick and depressed for several weeks as my body adopted to my new eating habits. If it’s a recent conversion we still feel the urge to eat meat and we still have cravings for meals we enjoyed before, but can’t anymore.
    What this study finds is a great way to ignore the brutal massacre that goes on just so weak-minded people can sleep well knowing it is healthy to kill animals for taste.

    1. DirkH

      Thomas; does PETA still kill dogs? How’s it going at veganism inc.? Not much happening lately. Die-off at yours?

    2. Seth

      How many animals die per one pound of rice protein on your plate?

    3. Orson

      Thomas Cardin amuses me. First of all, he back-handedly admits that a vegetarian diet alone is nutritionally unbalanced. His motivation is to attack a conceivable weak-point in an otherwise well-controlled nutrition, lifestyle, and health outcomes study. He then closes with a denunciation of meat-eaters. How revealing!

      I once dated a vegetarian. She was for aesthetic reasons. And I was fine with that.

      long ago, a long-time Boston University philosophy professor, Michael Martin, easily dispatched the likes of Tom Regan (sp?) and other “moral” vegetarians. The simple bottom line? Many mammals, including meat eating pets, have no problem eating people – so why are humans uniquely obliged not to eat (dumb) animals when they do not return the “favor?” Could it be that humans are morally gullible? Or more misanthropically motivated, because – as G. B. Shaw knew – the road to Hell is paved with “good” intentions?

      What Tom reveals is that you scratch an anti-aesthetic vegetarian, you often find a moral and moralistic vegetarian lurking beneath. GO AWAY from me!

      1. DirkH

        I agree with you, but one remark about Shaw: He was a Fabian Socialist as well as member of the Eugenics society. So in his case, “it takes one to know one” surely applies.

  13. Lars

    Low Carb High Fat with mainly animal fat is the way forward!

    Don’t let the establishment make you believe that farting cows is worse for the planet than a billion acres of grain.

  14. Steve Lohr

    Thomas @ 17:50

    No Sir, it is not bull$hit. There is clear evidence that meat is good and necessary nutrition for humans. It is part of our physiological adaptations that led to success as a species. If you can watch a wolf pull down a bison and sleep at night then you can very well do it when your fellow humans enjoy a meal with meat. If you can’t then you need to buck up cowboy, if that won’t work, go see a shrink. I have less and less patience for such neurosis.

  15. Emily

    Guys read the actual study… Last paragraph:

    “To summarize, a number of studies have shown vegetarian diets and diets with poor meat intake to be associated with lower mortality rates for certain diseases….”

    The media just focused on one part of the study (the negative part as usual), but there are also positive effects to vegetarianism. The researcher even said it’s not enough proof to be conclusive. This is an example of people eating up whatever they are fed by the media without any research.

    Furthermore the UN released statistics on how the meat industry produces more green house gases than all the world’s transportation combined.

    So if you comment, “I love steak,” you are saying you don’t care about your planet, physical health, animals or your kids/grand kids’ futures.

    1. DirkH

      “Furthermore the UN released statistics on how the meat industry produces more green house gases than all the world’s transportation combined.

      So if you comment, “I love steak,” you are saying you don’t care about your planet, physical health, animals or your kids/grand kids’ futures.”

      a) The UN releases BS statistics all the time; for instance UNEP’s mythical 50 million climate refugees that no one can find.

      b) In the last 17 years, CO2 has risen by 10 % (and just to make it very clear to vegan brains: That means from 0.036 % to 0.04 %). Temperatures have not risen, even though “the UN” (the UNIPCC to be specific) have predicted they would rise.

      So; anyone with a healthy brain who hasn’t been sleeping under a rock the last 17 years should by now have noticed that “the UN”‘s prognostications about the warming potential of “greenhouse gases” are clearly wrong.

  16. Ric Werme

    A lot of things we appreciate from eating plants are really the plant’s defense system, just diluted.

    They’re still defense systems….

  17. DirkH

    Don’t eat 5 portions of vegetables and fruit a day.
    Eat 10.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10735633/Healthy-diet-means-10-portions-of-fruit-and-vegetables-per-day-not-five.html

    Too exhausting for me. I’ll stick to meat and try to duke it out while the vegetarians ravage the countryside.

    A quest for Kohlrabi.

  18. k

    Who funded this study? Dairy and Meat industries? I’m vegetarian and I’ve never been healthier in my life, since I had to give up meat and dairy. No allergies any more, more vitality, look better. My grandfather, a meat eating dane, dropped dead of a heart attack when he was 40. All my relatives died young of various heart and stroke diseases. I’m 45 and still going strong. Vegetarianism works for me. And don’t pay attention to studies done by the cattle and dairy industries.

    1. DirkH

      k, it’s a pity to hear that your family suffers from a genetic defect. None of my relatives ever had heart disease or a stroke; and they were all meat eaters.

      You might be interested in Ray Kurzweil’s book , I think it’s “Live long enough to live forever”; in which he discusses his own family’s genetic condition – which seems to be similar to yours – and what he is doing about it. Contains a lot of information about the human metabolism.

  19. Maree Elizabeth

    how about dont feed GMO’s and growth hormones to our cattle…

  20. Du

    What an idiotic study…you guys have no clue! Stop the propaganda the meat industry is drumming up through you university of wherever!!!

  21. Ed Caryl

    Another canard. There is no coordinated “cattle and meat industry” doing studies. The studies done are by medical institutions that have absolutely no interest in people dying young. Processed sugars are the real poisons. My family is similar to Pierre’s, most living into their 90’s eating lots of meat.

  22. Dan

    ooooh, so close to having a convincing dietary argument before the author blew his journalistic integrity by sniping at climate science for no apparent reason at the end…

    this article now rests in personal opinion territory (I believe the sources but am now concerned about the skewe)

    1. DirkH

      Well, Dan, you must be new here. Please play with temperature data yourself and you will find that there has been no Global Warming for the last 17 years; even though the IPCC models predicted it – which clearly blows their credibility, wouldn’t you think so?

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/

  23. Être végétarien : mauvais pour la santé ? | gold is money

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  24. lew

    20 Billion land and sea animals a year are raised and slaughtered and probably only a quarter of that is digested, most destructive industry on the planet, I love meat but had to stop for the above reasons, its a hidden holocaust

    1. DirkH

      Holocaust? My, my. You’re equating humans and animals.
      So let’s do the quick rundown: If slaughtering animal = Holocaust, then Polar Bear = serial killer. If punishment for homicide is lifelong prison, then lifelong prison for all Polar Bears. And for their prey, seals. Ok we’re in La La land, I can stop there, please take care you get your B12 so your brain starts working again.

      1. skeptic432

        I think a significant difference would be in our ability to make choices regarding consuming other sentient beings. We are not polar bears, who likely do not have the same ability to make choices about their diet. The question for us, as humans who do have significant options when it comes to whether to eat other sentient beings, is why do so? If you haven’t read it, I recommend The Immorality of Eating Meat by Engel.

        1. Ed Caryl

          Cows and chickens are sentient? You haven’t spent much time on a farm, or you don’t know the meaning of the word.

          In the present day, humans do have options on what to eat. This was not so until just a few years ago. During 99.99% of man’s evolutionary history we ate what was available or starved. In prehistoric times men hunted whatever game was available, and women and children gathered whatever roots, nuts, or fruits were available and in-season. This combination was what we evolved to live on. This combination still appears on most dinner plates. This combination is what keeps us healthy. To stray from that combination requires special effort that is not necessary or healthy.

        2. DirkH

          “The question for us, as humans who do have significant options when it comes to whether to eat other sentient beings, is why do so?”

          We kill the animals humanely BECAUSE of their sentience. As for the significant options, I’m happy to let you test them out first. Results coming in are not impressive sofar.

  25. Joe Smith

    Read the study, it means nothing

    Potential limitations of our results are due to the fact that the survey was based on cross-sectional data. Therefore, no statements can be made whether the poorer health in vegetarians in our study is caused by their dietary habit or if they consume this form of diet due to their poorer health status. We cannot state whether a causal relationship exists, but describe ascertained associations. More- over, we cannot give any information regarding the long-term consequences of consuming a special diet nor concerning mortality rates. Thus, further longitudinal studies will be required to substantiate our results. Further limitations include the measure- ment of dietary habits as a self-reported variable and the fact that subjects were asked how they would describe their eating behavior, without giving them a clear definition of the various dietary habit groups.

    1. Orson

      This study means nothing.”

      No, it means a good deal, including the honest announcement of unknowns like the longitudinal effects because it could not study consequences beyond the range it considered.

      That’s called scientific HONESTY. No hyperbole (SEE elsewhere among the commenters) need apply.

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  28. skeptic432

    “We did find that vegetarians suffer more from certain conditions like asthma, cancer and mental illnesses than people that eat meat as well”
    Perhaps these people already had these conditions and were vegetarian to try and help these conditions?
    This study merely claims correlations, not causation. Perhaps the findings should be rephrased as “those with asthma were twice as likely to adopt a vegetarian diet” or “those with cancer were twice as likely to adopt a vegetarian diet,” etc.
    This “study” is pseudoscience.
    “New study finds people in hospitals are sicker than the general population…”

    1. DirkH

      “This “study” is pseudoscience.”

      They did not claim causation, so you’re judgment falls flat.

  29. Okan Ertek

    don’t believe a line of the report….got to be difficult to put vegans and non vegans in a laboratory enviremont and wait for them to die of the cancer….
    whatever, let’s say it is the truth…still gladly suffer anything but don’t put any animal in my mouth, animals are not my victims…
    and all those juicy steak asswipes……just forget it, you don’t worth it!

    1. DirkH

      “got to be difficult to put vegans and non vegans in a laboratory enviremont and wait for them to die of the cancer”

      You seem to suffer from a B12 deficiency.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurses%27_Health_Study

  30. Jay B.

    Come on guys, you can not believe this. Austrians probably wanted to sell more pork schnitzels. Do you really believe that eating vegetable, cheese and bread can cause cancer? Because I don’t. Don’t you think the study could be manipulative?

    1. DirkH

      Jay, every second one DNA strand in your body breaks because a C14 atom decays into Nitrogen.
      The damage happens all by itself; the decisive factor is whether the repair mechanisms work.

  31. bob villa

    please see the original published research and the comments on it

    http://www.plosone.org/article/comments/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0088278;jsessionid=C98E2713271D4FB5B2DFCEB744C3F944

    @ Definition of Vegetarians, lack of quality of food

    @ When I took a statistics course a chi squared of zero meant no correlation

    @ misrepresented citations, etc.

    @ correlation does not equal causation

    @ No cause effect establishment and missing many details

    @ Did the authors check the effectiveness of their matching?

    @ same data-source, but almost exact opposite results

    @ Funding sources and conflicts of interest

  32. MPc

    Leute,
    bevor ihr euch hier am allzu überschwänglichen Fleischkonsum aufgeilt, lest erstmal die Studie richtig!
    Hier sind sie seriös verlinkt: https://forschung.medunigraz.at/fodok/suchen.person_publikationen?sprache_in=de&menue_id_in=102&id_in=2004417

    Da stehen vor allem auch solche Sätze wie:
    “Concerning health, our study showed a vegetarian diet
    to be related to better health, which is in line with previous findings” in der Ergebnis-Sekttion.

    1. DirkH

      Study analyzes the paradox that while brain mass increased during human evolution, teeth, esp. molars, got smaller.
      http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/406507/
      This is counterintuitive because a bigger brain means more energy needs. Why then did the all important molars, necessary for plant eaters to chew plant material as finely as possible to maximize energy intake, not grow with the brain? The answer: Humans started to consume meat.

      Here Der Spiegel explains it in German.
      http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/fruehmenschen-das-gehirn-wuchs-als-die-zaehne-schrumpften-a-962548.html

  33. Laura

    Insanity is evidently at play here; hard to believe any thinking person considers that science, but then your food choices very emotional. Here’s my blog piece on the study:
    http://blameitonlove.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/total-quackery-austrias-graz-university-study/

  34. Do Vegetarians Die Earlier? | Michael Bradley - Time Traveler
  35. Alin

    Juts a quick question: has anyone here ever tried vegetarian diet? People above who didn’t DO NOT have edge right to talk about this issue.
    OK, we got that out of the way.
    Now, for the rest: how did you feel while being a vegetarian compared to a meat diet?
    Presently, I eat everything, including meat, but while vegetarian, I slept a LOT better, had more energy, felt lighter, had no bowel movements problem, I could concentrate at work better. Now I’m back to the meat, although I have it there times a week and in small portions.
    My opinion now: eggs should not be eliminated from one’s diet, but chicken and mostly any kind of meat should, as much as possible. Also dairy products should not be touched AT ALL. The bring more cellular destruction than vitamins. In fact, milk is in the 20 position in the chart of most Calcium rich foods. Sesame, carob and barley are topping the league ;-)
    Also, meat brings more bad things than good. There two good things: the complete protein (although it turns into blood sugar in the human body) helps you with the daily intake, and the iron contained (better absorbed than from veggies). Other than this I see no benefit. Maybe just a night with friends around the BBQ.
    I’m not telling you not to eat meat, cause I do have it from time to time, I’m just saying be reasonable and think for yourself. Don’t believe all the crap they say. In fact, they ONLY want your money… They want you to get sick an day for drugs… Good day to you all!

    Mensana in corpore sano! Stay well!

    1. DirkH

      “Juts a quick question: has anyone here ever tried vegetarian diet? ”

      Yes; or at least, very little meat. Got me a vitamin A deficiency and beginning night blindness; dry eyes, inability to focus on monitor.
      Cured by liberal doses of cod liver, followed by return to meat and fish rich diet.

      According to your advice I must be dead by now. I eat loads of cheese.