When one chooses to adopt vegetarianism, the criticisms are rife. Criticisms often based on one and the same argument: nutritional deficiency. Far from popular beliefs, ScienceAlert highlights a Brazilian study according to which vegetarians have about twice as many depressive episodes as meat eaters. But whether we like it or not, nutritional needs are not the cause.
After identifying higher rates of depression in people giving up the omnivorous diet, the researchers analyzed a wide range of factors: total calorie intake, protein, micronutrients and food processing… To no avail: none no link has been established between the nutritional content of the diet and depressive episodes. So what correlation can there be? Is there a trigger?
Everything turns out to be psychological. According to the science media, “Being depressed would encourage people to become vegetarians, not the other way around. Depression promotes rumination of negative thoughts as well as feelings of guilt. Therefore, if we assume that each person is constantly confronted with the shocking reality of slaughterhouses and factory farming, which ones will be most affected? Those in a gloomy mood.
Long minutes of reflection will ensue and desires to evolve towards a meatless diet will arise. “There is evidence that individuals with mild to moderate depression have more realistic judgments and perceptions of their own role and abilities,” ends ScienceAlert.
Mockery and indifference depress
Social relationships would also influence the mental health of vegetarians, sometimes a source of ridicule and ostracism. The attack on values that are dear to them can sometimes result in a feeling of exclusion, which can be the cause of depressive disorders.
To see if this theory turns out to be true, it would be interesting to observe the link between vegetarianism and depression in a country like India, where this diet is more of a social norm. Even more significant is the question: as the number of vegetarians increases in developed countries, will we see this correlation disappear there over the years?
As the barbaric treatment of animals continues due to a high demand for cheap meat, vegetarians have reason to be overwhelmed. And then, what could be more depressing than ignoring this cruelty?