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Vegetarianism is one of the most common trends in modern diets (Rosen, 2011; Puskar-Pasewicz, 2010). More and more people are interested in it and consider that it is beneficial to their health. Vegetarians are believed to have better living conditions and are less interested in smoking or alcohol (Shridhall et al., 2014). Meanwhile, cholesterol levels were also lower among vegetarians, Shridhall et al. claim in the article The Association between a Vegetarian Diet and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors in India: The Indian Migration Study (2014).
On the contrary, the study A Comparison of Some of the Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Vegetarian and Omnivorous Turkish Females by Karabudak, Kiziltan, and Cigerim portrayed that vegetarians had higher risks of hyperhomocysteinaemia and lower levels of serum vitamin B12 (Karabudak, Kiziltan, and Cigerim, 2007).
The opinions depicted above underline the controversial nature of the vegetarian diet. On one hand, it is beneficial for maintaining levels of cholesterol. However, on the other side, it is doubtful whether vegetarianism has a net benefit on the overall functioning of the cardiovascular system. These dissimilar viewpoints were the primary rationale for selection of this topic for the research, as analyzing the argumentation of both articles mentioned above would help understand the pros and cons of the vegetarian diet.
Pro Side Argument
Discovering the pro side, Shridhall et al. clearly support the positive intentions of the vegetarian diet (2014). The authors refer to the “higher living standards” and decreased levels of cholesterol among vegetarians (Shridhall et al., 2014, p. 1). It could be said that the researchers use these arguments to support their initial claim, which implies that a vegetarian diet has a positive impact on the functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Initially, the authors examine the issue broadly and state that non-communicable diseases (Cardiovascular disease is one of them) could be viewed as one of the substantial causes of death (Shridhall et al., 2014). Thus, the researchers highlight that the majority of the Indian population is vegetarian (Shridhall et al., 2014). A combination of these factors is the primary driver to discover whether vegetarianism and risks of cardiovascular disease are connected in India.
Looking at the applied research paradigm to support the original hypothesis, the sample was comprised of factory workers and their spouses, who were willing to participate in the study voluntarily (Shridhall et al., 2014). The substantial number of participants (7067 respondents) ensured a high validity of the acquired information (Shridhall et al., 2014). As for the methodology, the authors apply different quantitative measurements including medical examination. In this case, the main variables were pertained to body mass index, biological indicators, evaluation of consumed minerals and vitamins, and blood pressure (Shridhall et al., 2014).
It could be said that using a plethora of correlation analyses simultaneously helps the researchers collect suitable evidence to support their original claim. Consequently, selecting quantitative research was rational, as it allowed evaluation of the vegetarian diet via the prism of different biological parameters.
Con Side Argument
As for the negative consequences of vegetarianism, Karabudak et al. depicted that this novel diet regime increases the risks of diseases of the cardiovascular system (2007). It could be said that the researchers state that the effects of these eating habits could be viewed as a threat to the health of the individuals. In this case, the authors highlight hyperhomocysteinaemia and lower levels of serum vitamin B12 as evidence for their claims (Karabudak et al., 2007).
Firstly, the authors provide information that mortality from cardiovascular disease is lower among people who adhere to a vegetarian diet (Karabudak et al., 2007). Thus, the authors refer to additional research, which emphasizes that consuming only the proteins from plants might result in an imbalance of various vitamins and minerals (Karabudak et al., 2007). It could be stated that the debatable nature of the topic is the primary driver for conducting research.
To support the main claim, young vegetarians and omnivores were selected for the study, and preliminary interviews were introduced to gather the background information (Karabudak et al., 2007). The voluntary participants were prepared for the blood assessment, which aimed to measure levels of cholesterol, Vitamin B12, and plasma concentration (Karabudak et al., 2007). Subsequently, statistical analysis was used to evaluate the results of the testing.
Based on the methodology described above, it could be said that quantitative methods were prioritized. In this case, the selection of this type of research was rational, as quantitative methods assist in evaluating the correlation coefficient of serum B12 and homocysteine (Karabudak et al., 2007). It could be said that this finding underlined the rationale for the proposed hypothesis since the result implies that high prevalence of hypermocysteinamia among vegetarians increases the vulnerability of the cardiovascular system to diseases.
In the end, both sides offer strong argumentation and support their claims with facts and a sound rationale. It could be said that the publications were equally compelling and persuasive. However, the articles still have their strengths and weaknesses. In this case, one of the benefits of the pro publication is the fact that it uses multiple variables to supports its original hypothesis. This aspect makes this article stronger in argumentation, as it also relies on trusted sources when using secondary data.
Furthermore, its large sample size increases the validity of the information. A participation of many respondents has a positive effect on the development of common trends. Nonetheless, it could be said that the highly specialized focus on India is a critical drawback of the article, as it questions the implications of the findings in other regions.
In turn, the primary strength of the con article is the fact that it proposes particular quantitative variables such as Vitamin B12 and homocysteine to support the initial claim of the research (Karabudak et al., 2007). Another benefit is the fact that its findings could be used by vegetarians since the article informs them about the adverse effects of imbalance resulting from the vegetarian diet (Karabudak et al., 2007). However, similarly to the pro article, the primary drawback of this publication is the geographical limitation of the study.
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Despite the controversial nature of the articles, the assignment helped me understand that one phenomenon has to be examined from different viewpoints. In this case, vegetarian diet could have a beneficial impact on living and cholesterol levels. However, its adverse impact on the cardiovascular system cannot be underestimated, as this group of organs is critical for the survival of a human being. Finally, the articles changed my perception about vegetarian diet. Now, I believe that these eating habits are relatively healthy, but they require a careful maintenance of the balance of minerals and vitamins.
Karabudak, E., Kiziltan, G., & Cigerim, N. (2007). A comparison of some of cardiovascular risk factors in vegetarian and omnivorous Turkish females. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 21, 13-22.
Puskar-Pasewicz, M. (2010). Cultural encyclopedia of vegetarianism. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Rosen, S. (2011). Food for the soul: Vegetarianism and yoga traditions. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Shridhall, K., Dhillon, P., Bowen, L., Kinra, S., Bharathi, A., Prabhakaran, D., Reddy, K, & Ebrahim, S. The association between a vegetarian diet and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in india: the Indian migration study. PLoS One, 9(10), 1-9.