What Might Happen If You Stop Eating Meat Altogether
People choose to become vegetarians for many reasons. Some do it for their health, while others decide to stop eating meat for ethical reasons. Although a vegetarian diet surely has lots of benefits, giving up meat all of a sudden may result in some unexpected and quite unpleasant side effects. Just like any drastic dietary change, going off meat is very stressful for your body, and it may cause some withdrawal symptoms at first.
Here at Bright Side, we decided to dive deeper into this question and find out the different ways your body might react if you suddenly stop eating meat.
1. Your skin might break out.
If you’re dreaming of having perfectly clear skin, then suddenly cutting out meat from your diet might bring some unpleasant surprises. Red meat is rich in amino acids that are vital for the production of collagen, and not getting enough of these essential nutrients might cause your skin to look dull. Meat also contains zinc, and even if vegetarians eat enough beans and grains that are also rich in zinc, certain compounds in them keep it from being absorbed by the body. Not getting enough zinc might affect your skin in many ways, including giving you acne.
2. You may feel the urge to snack more.
Meat is one of the main sources of protein, and if it’s been suddenly taken from your diet, your body might respond by going into survival mode. When you stop eating meat all of a sudden, you might find yourself filling up on every less-than-healthy snack you can get your hands on. Your body needs time to adapt to this sudden dietary change, and if you decide to go vegetarian or vegan, keep some healthy snacks, such as nuts or fruits, within reach to avoid the temptation of grabbing a pack of chips or pretzels.
3. You might experience more mood swings.
When you embark on a new diet, even if it means good changes for your body in the long run, you may go through an emotional roller coaster at first. Whatever you eat has a powerful effect on your level of stress because the microbiome in your stomach releases neurotransmitters that communicate with your brain. Although this unpleasant side effect is temporary and will fade once your body adapts to the changes, some new vegetarians and vegans might experience more anxiety than they’re used to.
4. You might notice more hair falling out.
Although there are plenty of good plant-based sources of zinc, such as legumes, nuts, and seeds, it’s the protein that helps the body to absorb zinc, and vegetarians and vegans may be at risk of not getting enough of this essential nutrient. When you’re regularly not getting enough zinc, it might affect your hair and even lead to hair loss in the long term. If you’re determined to stop eating meat, make sure you consume as much as 50% more zinc than the recommended amounts.
5. Your stomach may hurt.
While eating vegetables will definitely make your gut happy, suddenly switching from lots of meat to none at all can upset the unique makeup of bacteria in your stomach. When you dramatically change your diet and start eating foods that are different from the ones you are used to, it may cause stomach pain and indigestion at first.
How often do you eat meat? Have you ever tried to go vegetarian or vegan?