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nebule's avatar

Does meat consumption cause the body or mind (or both) excessive stress?

Asked by nebule (16439points) April 7th, 2010

(I’ve tried to find some material to reference but cannot at the moment)...but I’ve heard somewhere that consumption of meat causes the body unnecessary stress and that one can actually feel calmer on a vegetarian diet…physically and mentally.

Even though I love my meat I am considering trying to go vegetarian for a week to try this theory out. What are your experiences? Have you read or heard anything similar? Can you site me any articles that I can read?

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45 Answers

gasman's avatar

Sounds like hard-core vegetarian propaganda. I’m not aware of any credible evidence to support the claims you ask about. Nor can I see any physiologic / biochemical basis for it. It would be difficult to eliminate placebo-effect bias—true believers will report less mental stress (whatever that is) simply by virtue of the power of suggestion.

wenn's avatar

ive consumed meat my entire life, and i am one of the most stress free people i know. I know how to take stressful situations and work them out to be as stress free as possible. and it has nothing to do with the food i like to eat.

jaytkay's avatar

A healthy diet can be vegetarian, omnivorous or vegan. As @gasman wrote, people can easily be convinced of a diet’s good (or bad) effects by suggestion alone.

It really does not have to be complicated. The best advice is ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants’

DarkScribe's avatar

I think that if this was so, by now everyone would be a (very unhealthy) vegetarian. It would not be a secret.

MrGV's avatar

Since I began eating a balanced vegetarian diet overall I feel less stressful mentally and physically…I feel like I am more relaxed and have more energy than I usually did when I eat meat like crazy…

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

It’s difficult to process animal protein, and meat eating has been definitively linked to to heart disease cancer and high cholesterol.

bobbinhood's avatar

I have never heard this before. I have also not eaten meat for over a month. Looking back, I don’t see any difference in my physical or mental stress.

YoBob's avatar

No, however id does provide an excellent source of protein as well as complete amino acids, not to mention it tastes great.

nebule's avatar

gosh…I’m really surprised by this…. interesting….

syzygy2600's avatar

What hasn’t been linked to stress/cancer these days? It’s all just bullshit propaganda.

marinelife's avatar

We are designed to eat meat. That is unlikely to cause stress.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@marinelife We’re really not. Otherwise we wouldn’t have to cook it to avoid getting sick.

marinelife's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre How do you know we have to cook it to avoid getting sick? There are several dishes of uncooked meat even today, and we could eat it during caveman times without cooking it.

nebule's avatar

well it does say in this article that ‘greater amounts of animal products into the diet was essential for the evolution of the large human brain’ (p.199) so perhaps @marinelife is right… unless evolution can manoeuvre the development of a large brain whilst simultaneously causing stress… or maybe the stress is a result of other factors that involve meat in the diet… yes that could work… I can already see massive flaws in my argument.

oh the evolution thing is a slippery road though…best move away from that perhaps… :-/

anartist's avatar

Meat consumption requires more energy to break down the foodstuff for digestion than consumption of other foodstuffs but to the point that it is “stressful”, unlikely.

Seek's avatar

Stress is necessary for growth, so what’s the big deal if it is (taking into account I know of no real evidence to suggest it is)? Besides, meat is delicious.

anartist's avatar

I notice that “psychology” is one of your tags”; whatever “stress” might be involved in the digestion of meat is not psychological. It is just a little more work for the body to do. The benefits to the body are, for the most part, worth that extra work.

BoBo1946's avatar

bring on some good stress! Would like my ” 16 oz stress ribeye” medium and covered with sauteed mushrooms!

Arisztid's avatar

I am stressed if I try to restrain myself from eating yummy meat! If I run out of meat I am so stressed by it that I have to go to the grocery store to go get some.

My cat becomes worried at these times.~

slick44's avatar

@Arisztid .. you animal! lol

Arisztid's avatar

@slick44 <stops knawing on a raw steak> Heh? Oh… you may be right about that. <resumes knawing>

slick44's avatar

@Arisztid .. And what kind of animal would you say you were? wolf, perhaps?:)

CMaz's avatar

Only if it is a tough piece of meat.

BoBo1946's avatar

@marinelife and @slick44 a poor man has two things he really enjoys (eating and making love!)—

Someone once said (probably Chaz..loll), eat healthy, do all the right things, and you might live to be 100 yrs old and if you don’t live to be 100 yrs old, it will seem like you lived that long if you eat healthy and do all the right thing!

eat and be merry for tomorrow you may shall die!

CMaz's avatar

“eat and be merry for tomorrow you may shall die!”

That I might have said! LOL

WestRiverrat's avatar

I don’t believe meat in and of itself causes excessive stress. I believe a lot of the growth hormones and antibiotics that get pumped into most commercial grown meat animals may contribute.

john65pennington's avatar

According to my nurse wife, red meat is not healthy for the human body. some red meats stay in the human body and are never excreeted, like in the human colon. this is the main cause of colon cancer.

I guess this is why we never have steak at my house. now i know why.

CMaz's avatar

“some red meats stay in the human body and are never excreeted,”

Would I not be the size of a cow by now if that was true? :-)
I have eaten a lot of red meat in my life.

slick44's avatar

So if our body is 70 percent water, then i guess the rest is meat right? lol

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@marinelife If you go get a chicken or a pig, and eat it raw, you will get sick. There’s no avoiding this. Some beef is safe, but most is not. Fish is about the only thing that’s consistently eaten without cooking it, but even there you need to be very very careful. We didn’t have any other organs in play in the “caveman days” we cooked meat then too.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@ChazMaz consider a colonoscopy.

nikipedia's avatar

Evidence does exist showing that an omnivorous diet causes significantly higher blood pressure than an herbivorous diet, even adjusting for other lifestyle factors (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Internal Medicine Journal).

However, it would be a stretch to argue that high blood pressure = high stress.

One study found that during a weight loss regimen, participants on a vegetarian diet reported better mood than those on an omnivorous diet (Journal of Neural Transmission).

Another study found significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression in omnivores versus vegetarians, although I can’t read past the abstract because the study is in Spanish (Bol Asoc Med PR).

So to the extent this has been studied empirically, it seems like the most scientifically defensible answer is something like: no one can say for sure, and it depends on how you define stress, but more evidence supports the idea that an omnivorous diet does cause stress than that it doesn’t.

jazmina88's avatar

@slick44 you got some bones in there.

slick44's avatar

@jazmina88 ..ok, ok give a take a couple percent.lol

Draconess25's avatar

@syzygy2600 Thank you!

It’s not so much the meat itself, but the fact that it stores more toxins than plant products. Nonetheless, plants are grown with chemical fertilizers & pesticides. Anything organic is better for you, meat or plant.

Besides, you are what you eat. I assume no one wishes to be a plant. You’d be too helpless….

jeanmay's avatar

I really like this series of documentaries from the BBC. They don’t necessarily discuss the relationship between food and stress, but they do include some pretty fascinating food experiments. Episode 5, How to stay young and beautiful, addresses the growing popularity of detox diets and whether they really work. That might help answer your question a bit.

You can download the episodes here, although be warned I’ve never actually downloaded from that site before!

faye's avatar

There was a book years ago called Diet for a Small Planet that specifically addressed why we shouldn’t eat meat. But tell that to Eskimos before white men showed up, or plains indians, and on and on. I was vegetarian for years and still prefer the veggie route.

nebule's avatar

oh wow…thank you all…some really great answers and information,... must write more later as I’m off to the hospital for a barium meal (and without even a glass of water or a cup of coffee for the past twelve hours I’m feeling a little grumbly) for a throat and stomach x-ray so will catch y’all later xxxx

mattbrowne's avatar

The kidneys. But it’s not really a problem if you’re healthy and avoid excessive meat consumption. Some research indicates that lacto-ovo vegetarians who eat small amounts of fish or very small amounts of meat increase their lifespan significantly. But so do people who achieve authentic happiness.

partyparty's avatar

@BoBo1946 Delicious !!! Shall I start cooking it now?

BoBo1946's avatar

@partyparty be there in a “jippy”!

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