Weight Loss

In my personal experience, after deciding to become a vegetarian, I noticed a gradual weight loss. Seven months later, I am 25 pounds lighter.
This is a great way to curb the dreaded "Freshman 15." Former President Clinton adopted a vegan lifestyle after his quadruple bypass surgery. He has since lost 20 pounds.
The Mayo Clinic states that weight loss can occur because the vegetarian diet includes less saturated fat. In addition, fruits, grains, and vegetables are very low in calories but are extremely filling. However, it all depends on the types of foods you eat. Friends of mine that have become vegetarians reverted to a diet filled with sugary candy and high fat junk food. This is a terrible decision, as your body will be starving for nutrients as it is packing on the pounds.

It's Cost Effective

For a college student, every penny counts. Eating vegetarian does not have to be expensive at all.
When I became a vegetarian, I started grocery shopping instead of eating at on-campus restaurants. I typically spend about $25-$35 a week on my groceries, including produce, soy milk, and meat substitutes. In contrast, my meat-loving roommate spends upwards of $70 each week, including meats and cheeses. A pound of ground beef costs about $3.87, versus a package of soy meat substitute only costs $2.19.

Here in Gainesville, I do my shopping at Earth Origins, which is conveniently just steps away from my apartment. Thankfully, organic chains are popping up like WholeFoods, and Publix has an organic isle and a wonderful produce section.

If you have a meal plan at college, there are so many vegetarian options. Any dining hall should have a salad bar, vegetables, a sandwich station, pasta, and fresh fruits. At the University of Florida, there's even a vegan station in every dining hall.

It's Environmentally Sound

Less resources are consumed by eating plants instead of meat. It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein. In contrast, it takes just 1 calorie of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of soy beans. In addition, it takes up to 15 times more water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein. Eating a vegetarian diet helps conserve these precious resources.

Lower Chance of Health Risks

The American Dietetic Association asserts that the vegetarian diet is very healthy. Many are put on a vegetarian diet due to health problems they've endured in the past.
A study performed by The Journal of Clinical Pathology states that milk, meat and eggs contain no dietary fiber, and subsisting on these foods alone can cause bowel diseases such as colon cancer, ulcers, gallbladder stones, and kidney-failure. Furthermore, the yolk of an egg has a very high concentration of cholesterol, up to 300mgs, which is a waxy fat that deposits itself in the liver and can harder arteries.

Drinking soy milk more than once daily has been shown to reduce prostate cancer by 70%. According to the National Institutes of Health, Seventh Day Adventists, who adhere to a strict vegetarian and kosher diet, have a lifespan 4 to 10 years longer than the typical Californian.


Many oppose the vegetarian diet because of the absence of nutrients that are contained in meat. Especially for college students who already have such a poor diet, abstaining from eating meat can create complications if not done properly. Most notably, the nutrients that can lack in a vegetarian's diet are: protein, iron, vitamin B12, fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D. However, these vital elements can be replaced in the form of supplements, beans, soy milk, and protein powder. In addition, soy protein has B vitamins, iron, fiber, and B12. If you can support a vegetarian lifestyle, be sure to set yourself up for success when making the switch, and have the added supplements and dietary additives in order to secure these missing nutrients.