Can plant-based diets lead to depression?

- According to a study conducted by Bristol University, vegetarians and vegans are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression compared to those who eat meat. The study, which looked at 10,000 people, found that the 350 participants who were committed to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle had significantly higher depression scores.

The study suggests it may have something to do with a lack of B Vitamins, which you get from eating red meat. Cows don't produce B12, but they eat dirt which has B12.

Dr. Joel Kahn joined us on The Nine, though, to tell some red flags about the study.

"Seventy-two percent of men who checked the box that said they were a vegan had eaten a beef burger in the last two weeks," he says. "I think they think it's a good way to date or be popular. The whole thing is shaky."

One study he points to instead is one by The Sun Project, which looked at the diet histories of 15,000 men and women. The study found that those who didn't already have depression at the beginning of the study weren't likely to developing depression over a decade by eating healthy diets. A random online study called The Smiles Study found similar results -- less depression in those that ate healthy foods vs. junk and processed foods. The data suggests healthier diets can even prevent the development of the depression.

You can hear more about the other studies in the video player above from Dr. Kahn.

Either way, though, Dr. Kahn does recommend plant-based eaters to add B12 to your diet.

"Years from now, you might develop anemia or nerve problems," he says. Everyone over 50 is recommended to add it to their diet anyway as a multi-vitamin regardless of what they eat.

Nutritional yeast, which tastes cheesy, is a good source of B12 . Or, if you're up for it, don't wash your fruits or veggies.

"If we'd eat 'em dirty, we'd get B12 from that brown part on the celery; that's got B12 in it," hDr. Kahn says.

Another recommendation to keep yourself eating healthy, plant-based or not, is to stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store.

"Stay out of the middle of the grocery store," he says. "Shop the outside of the grocery store where real food exists."

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