A “flexitarian” is a “flexible vegetarian,” meaning someone who eats meat sparingly. Various studies tells us that this strategy for health is better than the standard American diet, but may not be as optimal as an even more whole-food, plant-based diet. This is partially due to higher cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat intake compared to vegans. Switching from eating beef to consuming chicken or fish does not lower cholesterol. The largest study ever indicated that meat intake may increase total mortality, the risk of developing diabetes and prediabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, fibromyalgia, lymphoma, metabolic syndrome, and many other common diseases. Although flexitarians do live longer than those eating the standard American diet, vegetarians live longer than flexitarians, as long as they get enough B12. Plant-based diets contain more than enough protein and often provide more nutrients than omnivorous diets.
Those eating whole-food, plant-based diets have significantly lower levels of IGF-1, steroid sex hormones, and industrial pollutants than those just eating vegetarian. Cutting down on meat may also be better for the environment.
Topic summary contributed by Paul.