Vegetarian Diet: This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Go Vegetarian

Many people don't eat meat for political and ethical reasons, but the vast majority of Americans give up meat for their health.
Things That Happen to Your Body When You Go Vegetarian
Vegetarian Diet: This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Go Vegetarian Getty Images

Deciding to give up meat is a big decision. Not only is it a lifestyle choice, it's a public statement, regardless of your intentions, be them political, ethical or health-related. You're telling everyone that you are doing something bold for yourself, your body and your future. But when you execute this decision and actually start living as a vegetarian—or even vegan—many things start to change, the most being to your health and body.

Many people don't eat meat for political and ethical reasons, but the vast majority of Americans give up meat for their health. A study by Vegetarian Times shows that 7.3 million people are vegetarian in the United States, roughly 3.2 percent of the U.S. population. The same study found that 22.8 million people, or 10 percent of U.S. adults, follow a mostly-vegetarian diet. The vast majority of those polled in that and other studies showed that most people chose a full or mostly vegetarian diet to "improve their overall health."

The desire for people to go vegetarian or vegan to improve their overall health is a smart call, considering all the health benefits attributed to a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians and vegans can expect more energy, lower chances of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, shiny hair, great nails and even better sleep, just to mention a few. Of course, with the good comes a little of the bad: like a need to be more focused on your protein intake, your vitamin D and iron.

If you go vegetarian, you'll be in good company. Celebrities like Paul McCartney, Natalie Portman and even Beyoncé have gone vegan. And it's not just celebrities. Historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Mohandas Gandhi and Albert Einstein were all vegetarians. (For the record, so was Adolf Hitler, but his status as the worst human being ever definitely outranks his healthy dietary decisions.)

So what does happen to your body when you go vegetarian or vegan? Slide through to find out some of the surprising changes your body will go through. Spoiler alert: You'll probably want to invest in anti-gas medication.

1 Energy
Your energy might spike. If you’re eating healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, you’ll likely receive a natural boost of energy, thanks to the fiber and carb energy (mostly in fruits). Getty Images