Originally posted by Scottyee:
I've tried becoming a vegetarian (with tofu & beans to supply 'balanced' protein requirements) but without at least an occasional fix of red meat, begin to feel weak & tired within a couple of days. I had heard somewhere (rumor?) that there's a unique ingredient (essential amino acid?) in red meat not found in other foods that we need. Is this true? Is my desire (craving?) for meat merely a withdrawal symptom which will eventually pass, or is there some unique ingredient in meat that's needed for us to sustain a healthy life?
To my knowledge there isn't one single nutrient present in red meat that can't be found on other types of food (this includes white meat). But there is one vitamin (B12) that cannot be found in animal foods (so pure vegetarians should take a suplement of this vitamin). In most cases, however, the real problem is not the absence of a specific nutrient in a diet, but the sustained (in a long enough period of time) insufficient quantity of some nutrients provided by a combination of foods in a diet.
I'll be back to comment on the article posted by Mike!
[This message has been edited by matias (edited 10-16-2003).]