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

Things That Happen to Your Body When You Go Vegetarian
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. Getty Images
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

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.

2 Fatigue
But, you might also feel temporarily fatigued. It all depends on what you’re eating, and finding the right balance. But if you go from a very high-protein diet and then suddenly cut it, you’re naturally going to feel sluggish. Getty Images
3 Dairy
Dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. If your stomach can handle it, dairy is fine, but it’s not the only source of calcium. You can also find calcium in vegetables like kale and spinach. Getty Images
4 Workout Protein
If you work out a lot, you’ll need extra protein. Working out requires more of a need for protein and carbs, to match the energy expenditure from fitness. There are plenty of powder proteins, many in vegetable and vegan varieties. Getty Images
5 Friends
Oh, and people will become obsessed with your protein intake. You’ll start to notice, once you begin telling people you're giving up meat, that many people will be interested in whether or not you’re getting enough protein. Tell them how you feel, they’ll likely be surprised. Getty Images
6 Breast Cancer
You’ll reduce your risk of breast cancer. Vegetarian and vegan diets have shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, partly because of the lower body mass index (BMI) found in vegetarians. Getty Images
7 Heart Disease
You’ll also reduce your risk of heart disease. By not eating foods that lead to a higher risk of heart disease, people who give up meat have a lower chance of acquiring heart-related health problems. Getty Images
8 Bright Skin
Your skin will start to look brighter. This is especially true for vegans. Researchers believe giving up dairy is partly the cause of brighter looking skin. Getty Images
9 Eggs
Eggs are a vegetarian’s best friend. Eggs are a great source of protein, and incredibly healthy, while also low in fat. Getty Images
10 Spinach
You’ll need to look for more sources of iron. One of the first things to take a hit when you give up meat are your iron levels. Spinach has iron, but you can also get more iron through supplements. Getty Images
11 Vitamin C
In fact, you’ll process iron faster if you mix it with vitamin C. It’s true. Drink some orange juice with your iron supplement—it’ll do you good thanks to the natural antioxidants found in orange juice. Getty Images
12 Vitamin D
You’ll lack some vitamin D, so get a supplement. Vitamin D is necessary for bone health. You can get it through foods like soy milk, mushrooms and yogurts, but you’ll be better off getting through supplements to ensure you’re getting the proper amounts needed. Getty Images
13 Lose Weight
You might lose some weight. If you’re eating healthily, watching your protein and carb intake, and focusing on natural foods, chances are you’ll lose weight over time. Getty Images