According to a recent analysis in the journal Food Science and Nutrition, a meat-free diet is linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety than omnivorous eating.

That analysis examined 20 studies on meat consumption and mental health and found an association between vegetarianism or veganism and poorer mental health outcomes.

Although some studies suggest that nutritional deficiencies associated with vegan diets can be linked to depression, it’s possible that depression and anxiety may precede someone’s decision to go meat-free.

The research included in the new analysis spans the years from 2001 to mid-2020 and includes nearly 172,000 participants across four continents. Of that group, about 158,000 people ate meat, and 13,000 did not.

All but two of the studies relied on questionnaires in which respondents self-reported whether they ate meat or not, then answered prompts about whether they experienced anxiety and depression.

The results show that meat-eaters report lower rates of depression and anxiety than vegans and vegetarians do.


  • Mehr Ali is a Journalist, photographer, and football player.