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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 18, 2012


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2012;307(3):235. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1912

The psychology of the vegetarian propaganda would furnish the chapters for an entertaining story. The flame of enthusiasm for its doctrines has been fanned by the most diverse motives. At one time it has been ethical considerations, at another, economic, sociologic or physiologic arguments which have been advanced in support of what is essentially a system of diet.

Considered from purely physiologic aspects, the exclusive use of food of plant origin has been objected to principally on three grounds: (1) a tendency toward poorer utilization of the nutrients contained in the vegetarian diet; (2) the “blandness” of such a dietetic regimen and its lack of desirable stimulating qualities; (3) the necessity of consuming a larger volume of food to furnish the requisite nutriment, i. e., its bulky character.1 But none of these factors furnishes serious obstacles to nutritive success and at times each presents certain advantages. Modern vegetarianism has recognized some of the more objectionable features and has met the situation by a diversity of improvements which represent a real advance in modern food preparation. To-day no one can deny the possibility of adequate nutrition and the prolonged maintenance of health and vigor on a vegetarian diet.