Vegetarian nutrition: intended and actual effects
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Hoffmann, Katharina Bernsmeier, Lena Wagner
Vortrag auf dem 5th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition
Loma Linda, California, USA 2008
Vegetarian nutrition is often recommended and practiced for individual reasons such as the prevention of nutrition-related diseases and for societal reasons such as ethical and religious concerns. More recently, ecological reasons gained importance.
Most scientific studies on the effects of vegetarian nutrition focus on single aspects, predominantly on health aspects. A lot of detailed information is available. However, to get a deeper insight into the actual effects of vegetarian nutrition, its complexity needs to be considered. Vegetarian nutrition simultaneously affects the dimensions health, environment, society and economy. Since the effects are interlinked, side-effects and feed-back loops occur, which may enhance or diminish the originally intended effects. For example omitting meat and meat-products from the diet is for vegetarians associated with a lower risk of nutrition-related diseases. In addition, such a diet is related to a lower environmental impact (e.g. lower CO2-emissions from agricultural production) that on long-term may also affect the health of the general population.
Hence, for statements
about the actual effects of vegetarian nutrition and especially
in the context of increasing global problems it is essential to
consider its complex interrelatedness.