In today’s world, there is more awareness regarding health issues in the general public. People are no longer entirely dependent on health professionals for trivial information. This is due to the advent of the internet, social media, and various websites.
It is due to these very advancements that a person is only a click away from knowledge on various aspects of health. Consequently, people look up many things on the internet including different diets and fitness methods.
This has also made many of the diets popular among the people. For example, plant-based diets, which were once common in specific parts of the world, are now prevalent in the Western world. According to studies present on plant-based diets, they can be beneficial.
From shedding extra pounds to assisting treatments of particular health issues, plant-based diets provide many advantages. In addition to benefits for health, many argue that they may play a fundamental role in going green. So, switching to a plant-based diet may also be for environmental concerns.
However, in the midst of this, research also shows the other side of these diets. While these may be beneficial, research shows that the impact may vary from person to person. Secondly, not all people can survive on plant-based diets.
The same concern is shown in a new article by a researcher and nutritionist Emma Derbyshire. In accordance with Derbyshire, going meat-free can also deprive the body of an essential nutrient. The article appears in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, and Health.
Plant-based Diets May Be Harmful to the Brain Health
Research from the past highlights numerous positive effects of plant-based diets. For example, some studies have shown that going meat-free can cut down the risk of cancer. Others accentuate how the chances of developing other harmful conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease also go down.
However, in the new article, the author explains how going without meat completely can lead to a lack of an important nutrient. Choline is a nutrient that the body does not produce a sufficient amount. Therefore, a person is dependent to get it from the diet.
According to research on choline, the nutrient plays a fundamental role in the metabolism of an individual. For example, it is responsible for proper synthesis of neurotransmitters, methylation, and building up of the cell walls.
A lack of choline, in the body, can pave the way for many health conditions. This includes cognitive impairment in the person and child, liver disease, and neurological issues. It is particularly important in brain-related functions. During pregnancy, the nutrient is part of the development of the brain of the fetus.
The problem at the moment is that people, particularly in Western countries, are not consuming enough choline. The prevalence of plant-based diets adds further to the problem. This is because the main sources of the nutrient are meats such as beef, chicken, and fish or dairy.
What Can Be Done?
The author Emma Derbyshire praises people for adopting meat and dairy-free diets for environmental concerns. However, she further comments that this can adversely affect health and affect not only the person but the offspring.
She says that there also needs to be awareness regarding the importance of choline in people. There may be alternative supplements for the nutrient in the future but for the time being, getting it from the diet is better.