According to a systematic assessment of data published till June 18th, 2020, those who eat meat had lower levels of depression and anxiety.
A vegetarian diet is followed by 5% of Americans, 8% of Canadians, and 4.3 percent of Germans, according to estimates. Concerns about the impact of meat consumption and meat farming on the environment and animal welfare are cited by the majority of Euro-Americans as grounds for their vegetarianism. In India, where vegetarians account for 30% of the population, the ethic of purity or religious beliefs are cited most frequently. The purported health benefits of vegetarianism inspire vegetarians who are not motivated by ethical, environmental, or purity concerns.
Urska Dobersek et al. published a meta-analysis that looked at the link between meat consumption and two psychopathologies: depression and anxiety. In health research, the link between vegetarianism and mental health is a contentious topic, with studies indicating both positive and negative consequences of meat abstention. Vegetarianism and veganism, on the other hand, have progressively increased in popularity as “healthier” lifestyles.
Researchers looked at 20 publications published between 2001 and 2020 to see if there were any variations in depression and anxiety between vegetarians and meat eaters. The researchers used data from 17 cross-sectional studies, two combined cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, and one randomised controlled trial. According to the researchers, studies included in the meta-analysis were chosen from a pool of nearly 7354 potentially relevant studies based on methodologic rigour (“design, sampling and recruitment, specification and analysis of outcome, and interpretation and communication of results”) and whittled down for methodologic rigour (“design, sampling and recruitment, specification and analysis of outcome, and interpretation and communication of results”).
Researchers discovered a link between meat consumption and the occurrence of depression and anxiety, with those who ate meat having lower average depression and anxiety levels than those who did not eat meat. Importantly, they discovered that in high-quality research, the difference in depression and anxiety levels was higher than in low-quality studies.
“Meat eaters had lower sadness (g = 0.26, 95 percent CI [0.01 to 0.51], p =.041) and anxiety (g = 0.15, 95 percent CI [-0.40 to 0.69], p =.598) than vegans. These relationships were unaffected by sex.”
Researchers blame unreliable assessment techniques for inconsistent findings in research and systematic reviews. For example, they discovered that low-quality research may rely on self-reported measures rather than DSM-based psychopathology measures, ask participants to recall their diets rather than tracking them in real time, or recruit (biassed) samples from vegan and vegetarian websites, social-networking groups, communities, and restaurants.
However, researchers warn against attributing causal links between meat consumption and depression or anxiety (the data was insufficient to investigate causal relationships). Urska Dobersek, Kelsey Teel, Sydney Altmeyer, Joshua Adkins, Gabrielle Wy, and Jackson Peak’s meta-analysis may be found here.