ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Add your Article

The Dark Side of Vegetarianism

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Despite its proven health benefits, a vegetarian diet might in fact be masking an underlying eating disorder, new research suggests.

The study, in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that twice as many teens and nearly double the number of young adults who had been vegetarians reported having used unhealthy means to control their weight, compared with those who had never been vegetarians. Those means included using diet pills, laxatives and diuretics and inducing vomiting to control weight.

There's a dark side to vegetarianism, said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. He had no role in the research.

"Adolescent vegetarians [in the study] were more prone to disordered eating and outright eating disorders," Katz said. "This is not due to vegetarianism but the other way around: Adolescents struggling to control their diets and weight might opt for vegetarianism among other, less-healthful efforts."

Vegetarianism, or a mostly plant-based diet, can be recommended to all adolescents, Katz said. "But when adolescents opt for vegetarianism on their own, it is important to find out why because it may signal a cry for help, rather than the pursuit of health," he said.

Katz said he thinks a balanced vegetarian diet is among the most healthful of dietary patterns, and the study suggests some of the benefits.

"Adolescents practicing vegetarianism were less likely to be overweight than their omnivorous counterparts and, were the measures available, would likely have had better blood pressure and cholesterol, too," he said. "Eating mostly plants -- and even only plants -- is good for us, and certainly far better for health than the typical American diet."

The study's lead researcher, Ramona Robinson-O'Brien, an assistant professor in the Nutrition Department at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in St. Joseph, Minn., agreed.

"The majority of adolescents and young adults today would benefit from improvements in dietary intake," she said. The study found, for instance, that the vegetarians among the participants generally were less likely to be overweight or obese.

"However, current vegetarians may be at increased risk for binge eating, while former vegetarians may be at increased risk for extreme unhealthful weight-control behaviors," she said. "Clinicians and nutrition professionals providing guidance to young vegetarians might consider the potential benefits associated with a healthful vegetarian diet, [but should] recognize the possibility of increased risk of disordered eating behaviors."

The researchers collected data on 2,516 teens and young adults who participated in a study called Project EAT-II: Eating Among Teens. They classified participants as current, former or never vegetarians and divided them into two age groups: teens (15 to 18) and young adults (19-23).

Each participant was questioned about binge eating, whether they felt a loss of control of their eating habits and whether they used any extreme weight-control behaviors.

About 21 percent of teens who had been vegetarians said they used unhealthy weight-control behaviors, compared with 10 percent of teens who had never been vegetarians. Among young adults, more former vegetarians (27 percent) had used such measures than current vegetarians (16 percent) or those who'd never been vegetarians (15 percent), the study found.

In addition, among teenagers, binge eating and loss of control over eating habits was reported by 21 percent of current and 16 percent of former vegetarians but only 4 percent of those who'd never followed a vegetarian diet. For young adults, more vegetarians (18 percent) said they engaged in binge eating with loss of control than did former vegetarians (9 percent) and those who were never vegetarians (5 percent), the study found.

Young adult vegetarians were less likely to be overweight or obese than were those who'd never been vegetarians. Among teens, the study found no statistically significant differences in weight.

"When guiding adolescent and young adult vegetarians in proper nutrition and meal planning, it is important to recognize the potential health benefits and risks associated with a vegetarian diet," Robinson-O'Brien said. "Furthermore, it may be beneficial to investigate an individual's motives for choosing a vegetarian diet and ask about their current and former vegetarian status when assessing risk for disordered eating behaviors."

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more on a healthful diet.



SOURCES: Ramona Robinson-O'Brien, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor, Nutrition Department, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, St. Joseph, Minn.; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; April 2009 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

Last Updated: April 01, 2009

Copyright 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com