Thursday, 31 January 2013

Vegetarians have healthier hearts...

No, I'm not making it up, it's here in black and white – vegetarians are less likely to die or need hospital treatment as a result of heart disease. Well, there’s a surprise…not!

It’s odd, the Government spends an awful lot of our money putting out all sorts of health advice – eat more of this, drink less of that, have five of these – but never to my knowledge has it ever suggested people give up meat and go veggie; I can only assume that Government ministers are scared of upsetting the farming lobby, but they’re not too bothered about people dying of heart disease…hmmm.

I find the comments at the end of the article by the British Heart Foundation a bit suspicious, too; they seem to be talking down the benefits of going veggie – but, well, they would wouldn’t they? They have a vested interest because if everyone went veggie there wouldn’t be so many people dying of heart disease and there might be no need for the BHF. It’s much more important for them to look after their jobs than to actually give out some advice which would benefit the ordinary man and woman in the street. Oooh, I’m such a cynic!

It seems obvious to me that eating less saturated fat and more fruit, veg, nuts and pulses is almost certain to be a better idea for your health and for your wallet – being a veggie is so much less expensive than being an omnivore – so why don’t more people do it?

It’s certainly the case that people seem to like meat, although the more I read about it the more I wonder why, but in today’s more health-conscious climate why are they still so blinkered? Why do they spend £££ on a gym membership then pick up a burger on the way home? Is the culture of meat-eating so entrenched in people’s minds that they can’t imagine life without it or is it that they still see vegetarianism as some sort of minority pursuit carried out by sandal-wearing tree-huggers?

I’m genuinely puzzled by this conundrum – so put me out of my misery and drop me an email if you think you’ve got the answer.


  1. Ha! My boyfriend expressed the exact same 'cynical' sentiments as you when I mentioned the evident absence of official interest in these actually very significant findings.

    Are there vested financial interests at play? Well he definitely thinks so. After all we're constantly bombarded with adverts for both meat heavy fast foods, as well as tear jerking charities for research into the kinds of diseases that such foods inevitably contribute too. Both industries are huge multi-million concerns.

    I'm inclined to think that on a street level it's also down to ingrained collective resistance to challenge our western culture's dietary norms. But then again muted and unenthusiastic responses to such strongly veggie-friendly research findings from highly influential public bodies as the ones cited above, aren't doing anything whatsoever to help change those cultural norms. And as you suggest, it really does beg the question..

    1. Hi - I'm glad I'm not the only cynic! Astonishingly the news item on the BBC website was off the front page within 24 hours. Mustn't upset the meat-farming industry and the charity sector...!