Nowadays, and especially in western countries, people who adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet for health reasons or animalistic causes have increased considerably. According to the BBC, in the latest statistics there are more than 375 million vegetarians on the planet. This diet is shown as a balanced and healthy diet, however, generates a great controversy in the world of nutrition for the possible deficit of some nutrients.
First, the vegan diet logically encompasses a smaller variety of foods. Therefore, more careful planning of all meals is necessary to cover all the necessary nutrients for the body. As there is no contribution of animal origin, there is no source of vitamin B12, essential for the body. and in addition some other nutrients may be compromised or ingested in insufficient quantity in this type of diet. Examples such as calcium, vitamin D, essential fatty acids of fish, or iron.
“A vegan diet could reduce your intelligence. Nutrients of interest include: creatine, carnosine, taurine, omega 3, heme iron, B12, D3, B6, selenium, folic acid and choline. Deficiencies especially worrying for the development of the brain ”, has written in a“ tweet ”Dr. Paul Mason, expert in nutrition and sports medicine.
Did the flesh make us human?
Apart from these shortcomings, nutrition experts now raise another issue that may call into question the suitability of this increasingly booming diet: Could this deficiency affect the ability to think?
Anthropologists have been discussing what our ancestors ate for decades and Some studies even point out that eating meat is what made us human.
One reason for this theory is that intelligence must be “fed”: the brain devours about 20% of our daily calories, although it only represents 2% of our body weight. And what better way to find the huge variety of fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that these organs require than eating animals, which already include these nutrients.
In 2016, the German Nutrition Society came to categorically state that, for children, pregnant or nursing women and teenagers, vegan diets are not recommended, which has been supported by a review of the research conducted in 2018. In Belgium, force your children to eat a vegan diet can take you to spend time in prison.
But does it really damage our intellect? The only investigation was carried out in 555 schoolchildren in Kenya, who were fed three different types of soup – with meat, milk or oil – or received no soup, for seven school periods. They were examined before and after, to see how their intelligence evolved.
Better reasoning and arithmetic ability
According to this research, the children who received the soup containing meat each day seemed to have a significant advantage. At the end of the study, they passed all the other children on a nonverbal reasoning test.
Together with the children who received soup with oil, They were also the best in an arithmetic ability test.
This study, despite not being conclusive, raises some questions about whether veganism could be slowing the mental development of some people.
What experts seem to agree on is that there are important brain nutrients that simply do not exist in plants or fungi.
Creatine, carnosine, taurine, EPA and DHA omega-3 (the third type can be found in plants), heme iron and vitamins B12 and D3 are usually only found naturally in foods derived from animal products. Others are found in vegan foods, but only in small quantities.
A diet for smart?
Surprisingly, another study conducted in the United Kingdom concludes that “The higher the IQ, the greater the chances of being vegetarian.”
This work was published in the British Medical Journal. In this research conducted 20 years after conducting the first IQ tests in children, 366 of the participants claimed to be vegetarians, although more than 100 said they still ate chicken or fish.
Vegetarian men obtained a score of 106 for CI, compared with 101 for non-vegetarians, while vegetarian women scored an average of 104 against 99 for non-vegetarians. And there were no significant differences between those who followed a vegetarian diet at a low table and those who claimed to eat some chicken or fish.
Therefore, vegetarian adults averaged 5 fucking Intellectual Coefficient (IQ) more than those who were not.
In short, the “boom” of vegetarians, vegans, crudiveganos … generates many medical doubts and therefore the option of the flexitarian diet, based on balance, achieves more and more followers every day.