Vegans and vegetarians could have a new Public Enemy No. 1.
A cardiologist for the UK’s National Health Service claims vegetarianism is partially to blame for the premature death of his mother.
Dr. Aseem Malhotra says his mother Anisha, who did not eat meat for religious reasons, died of sepsis in December at age 68. Malhotra says she had been overweight and unhealthy due in-part to “ultra-processed” convenience foods — but claims more protein could have saved her.
“Even if you take away the rubbish diet, the problem with vegetarianism is you don’t get enough protein and you are at risk of a nutrient deficiency,” Malhorta tells MailOnline.
He says her lack of protein lead to “deteriorated” muscles so that “she became frail and vulnerable to infection” — a condition called sarcopenia.
“That was a crucial aspect to her suffering at the end.”
Anisha had dealt with many health issues since middle age. She developed high blood pressure in her 40s and weight-related arthritis, and also sustained a brain hemorrhage in 2003. Her weak spine suffered repeated slipped discs, and eventually developed a spinal disk infection.
“Growing up, I witnessed her regular consumption of starchy carbohydrates and ultra-processed snack foods of biscuits, crisps and chocolate,” says Mahorta. “’Our kitchen was flooded with these products.”
Though he concedes that vegetarianism didn’t directly kill his mother, he aims to warn people that — contrary to popular assumption — being vegetarian does not automatically make you healthier.
He says vegetarians can become overweight, and highly susceptible to vitamin b12, protein and iron deficiency — nutrients which help strengthen our bodies and immune systems. As an example, he points to India, often called the ‘diabetes capital of the world,’ where vegetarian and veganism is highest on Earth. He says even though they’re not consuming meat, they’re also apparently not consuming enough vegetables, fruits and legumes, preferring processed starchy, sugary, vegetable oil-based foods.
And some studies support this: The Indian Dietetic Association found 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans aren’t getting enough protein, while only 65 percent of meat eaters are protein-deficient.
Malhorta previously made headlines by speaking out against the World Health Organization for recommending people switch from butter and lard to vegetable oils, including those derived from corn, soybean and sunflower, which are highly processed and high in harmful omega 6 fatty acids. He pointed to studies linking vegetables oils with cancer, heart disease and dementia.
He adds, “I very much hope that [my mother’s] premature and painful death was not in vain and we can learn that much of these ills are preventable.”
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