Vegéta*ismes, dépression, santé mentale

Les méta-analyses trouvent parfois une association entre végétarisme et dépression, mais aucune causalité ne peut être établie, et les études sont hétérogènes et manquent de robustesse. Certaines de ces méta-analyses peuvent aussi être soupçonnées de conflits d’intérêt (Dobersek et al, notamment). Les résultats sur l’anxiété sont plus contradictoires. Les études sur les Adventistes (Beezhold et al., notamment) semblent plus favorables aux végétariens.  Une méta-analyse au moins a trouvé un lien entre orthorexie et végétarisme.

1. Méta-analyses et revues systématiques

Méta-analyses et revues systématiques

Vegetarian diet and depression scores: A meta-analysis [Texte]
Ocklenburg & Borawski
Journal of affective disorders, 2021


The heterogeneity between studies was high and geographical variation in study location was low, limiting cross-cultural insights.


Vegetarians show higher depression scores than non-vegetarians. However, due to high heterogeneity of published studies, more empirical research is needed before any final conclusions can be drawn. Also, empirical studies from a higher number of different countries would be desirable.

Vegetarian diet and orthorexia nervosa: a review of the literature [Abstract]
Anna Brytek-Matera
Eating and weight disorder, 2021


The results demonstrated that following a vegetarian diet was found to be related to orthorexic eating behaviors (in 11 out of 14 studies).


Further longitudinal research is needed to investigate whether following a vegetarian diet serves as a risk factor in the development of orthorexia nervosa.

Adherence to the vegetarian diet may increase the risk of depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies [Abstract]
Fazelian et al.
Nutrition reviews, 2021

Vegetarian diet significantly increased depression risk; however, the findings were not robust, and more studies are required to investigate the vegetarian diet and depression association.

Meat and mental health: A meta-analysis of meat consumption, depression, and anxiety [Texte]
Dobersek et al.
Critical revues in food science and nutrition, 2021

Meat consumption was associated with lower depression (Hedges’s g = 0.216, 95% CI [0.14 to 0.30], p < .001) and lower anxiety (g = 0.17, 95% CI [0.03 to 0.31], p = .02) compared to meat abstention. Compared to vegans, meat consumers experienced both lower depression (g = 0.26, 95% CI [0.01 to 0.51], p = .041) and anxiety (g = 0.15, 95% CI [-0.40 to 0.69], p = .598). Sex did not modify these relations. Study quality explained 58% and 76% of between-studies heterogeneity in depression and anxiety, respectively. The analysis also showed that the more rigorous the study, the more positive and consistent the relation between meat consumption and better mental health.

Vegetarianism and veganism compared with mental health and cognitive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis [Texte]
Iguacel et al.
Nutrition revues, 2020

No significant association was found between diet and the continuous depression score, stress, well-being, or cognitive impairment. Vegans/vegetarians were at increased risk for depression (odds ratio = 2.142; 95%CI, 1.105–4.148) and had lower anxiety scores (mean difference = −0.847; 95%CI, −1.677 to −0.018). Heterogeneity was large, and thus subgroup analyses showed numerous differences.

Vegetarian diet and the risk of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
Askari et al.
Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2020

Results from 13 publications (four cohort studies and nine cross-sectional studies) assessing the relationship between the consumption of a vegetarian diet and depression, anxiety and stress were included. The pooled effect size from 10 studies indicated no association between the consumption of a vegetarian diet and depression (pooled effect size: 1.02, 95% CI: 0.84–1.25, p = 0.817). Further, the pooled effect size from four studies suggests that a vegetarian diet is not associated with anxiety (pooled effect size: 1.09, 95% CI: 0.71–1.68, p = 0.678).

Meat and mental health: a systematic review of meat abstention and depression, anxiety, and related phenomena
Dobersek et al.
Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2020

Studies examining the relation between the consumption or avoidance of meat and psychological health varied substantially in methodologic rigor, validity of interpretation, and confidence in results. The majority of studies, and especially the higher quality studies, showed that those who avoided meat consumption had significantly higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and/or self-harm behaviors. There was mixed evidence for temporal relations, but study designs and a lack of rigor precluded inferences of causal relations. Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health.

Association between vegetarian and vegan diets and depression: a
systematic review [Texte]
Jain et al.
Proceedings of the nutrition society, 2020

Of the 17 studies investigating associations between vegetarian diets and depression, 5 found vegetarian diets to lower rates of depression, 10 studies found it to increasedepression/depressive symptoms, and the remaining 2 found no association. Of the 4 studies investigating associations between vegan diets and depression, 2 studies found the diet to be beneficial against depression, whilst the other 2 found it to increase depression. Overall, the findings revealed conflicting evidence on the association between vegetarian/vegan diets and depression


Association of plant-based dietary patterns with psychological profile and obesity in Iranian women
Zamani et al.
Clinical nutrition, 2020


an inverse association was observed between higher PDI and hPDI scores and depression (PDI: 0.41; 95% CI 0.23–0.71, Ptrend = 0.001, hPDI: 0.44; 95% CI 0.25–0.76, Ptrend = 0.003), anxiety (PDI: 0.56; 95% CI 0.33–0.94, Ptrend = 0.03, hPDI: 0.55; 95% CI 0.33–0.94, Ptrend = 0.03), and psychological distress (PDI: 0.44; 95% CI 0.26–0.75, Ptrend = 0.003, hPDI: 0.49; 95% CI 0.29–0.82, Ptrend = 0.009). For uPDI, higher scores were associated with depression (uPDI: 1.91; 95% CI 1.03–3.55, Ptrend = 0.03).

Prevalence and psychopathology of vegetarians and vegans – Results from a representative survey in Germany
Paslakis et al.
Nature scientific reports, 2020

Female gender, younger age, higher education, lower body mass index (BMI), and higher depressive and eating disorder symptoms were found to be associated with vegetarianism/veganism.

Orthorexic tendencies moderate the relationship between semi-vegetarianism and depressive symptoms
Hessler-Kaufmann et al.
Eating and weight disorders, 2020

Semi-vegetarians with strong orthorexic tendencies show more depressive symptoms than omnivores and vegetarians. The complex nature of the relationship between vegetarianism and depression requires further investigation.

Intake of Meat, Fish, Fruits, and Vegetables and Long-Term Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Ngabirano et al.
Journal of alzheimer’s disease, 2019

These findings suggest very low meat consumption increases the long-term risk of dementia and AD, and that a protopathic bias could have impacted finding from previous studies.

Exploring Singapore’s consumption of local fish, vegetables and fruits, meat and problematic alcohol use as risk factors of depression and subsyndromal depression in older adults
Goh et al.
BMC geriatrics, 2019

meat consumption was more likely to be associated with depression and SSD.

Do patterns of nutrient intake predict self-reported anxiety, depression and psychological distress in adults? SEPAHAN study
Salehi-Abargouei et al.
Clinical nutrition, 2019

An “omnivore” like diet high in amino acids, cobalamin, zinc, phosphorus, saturated fat, cholesterol and pantothenic acid is associated with reduced psychological disorders. Prospective studies are recommended to confirm our results.

Vegetarian diet is inversely associated with prevalence of depression in middle-older aged South Asians in the United States
Jin et al.
Ethnicity and health, 2019

Our study demonstrated 43% lower odds of depression among vegetarians (p = 0.023).

Vegetarian diet and mental health: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses in culturally diverse samples
Lavallee et al.
Journal of affective disorders, 2019

Vegetarianism diet is not reliably related to positive or negative mental health in US and Russian representative samples or in German representative or student samples.
Vegetarian diet is related to slight increases over time in anxiety and depression in Chinese students.

Vegetarian or gluten-free diets in patients with inflammatory bowel disease are associated with lower psychological well-being and a different gut microbiota, but no beneficial effects on the course of the disease
Philipp Schreiner et al.
United european gastroenterology journal, 2019

Although we did not identify a relevant impact of a specific diet on the course of the disease, there was a significant association with lower psychological well-being in Vegetarian diet and Gluten free diet patients.

Relationships between vegetarian dietary habits and daily well-being
John B. Nezlek et al.
Ecology of food and nutrition, 2018.

Multilevel modeling analyses (days nested within persons) found that vegetarians (individuals who avoided all meat and fish, n = 24) reported lower self-esteem, lower psychological adjustment, less meaning in life, and more negative moods than semi-vegetarians (individuals who ate some meat and/or fish, n = 56) and omnivores (individuals who did not restrict their intake of meat or fish, n = 323). Vegetarians also reported more negative social experiences than omnivores and semi-vegetarians.

Depressive Symptoms and Vegetarian Diets: Results from the Constances Cohort.
Matta J et al.
Nutrients, 2018

Depressive symptoms were associated with pesco-vegetarian and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets in multivariable analyses (Odds-Ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.43 [1.19⁻1.72] and 1.36 [1.09⁻1.70], respectively), especially in case of low legumes intake (p for interaction < 0.0001), as well as with the exclusion of any food group (e.g., 1.37 [1.24⁻1.52], 1.40 [1.31⁻1.50], 1.71 [1.49⁻1.97] for meat, fish and vegetables exclusion, respectively). Regardless of food type, the Odds-Ratio of depressive symptoms gradually increased with the number of excluded food groups (p for trend < 0.0001). Depressive symptoms are associated with the exclusion of any food group from the diet, including but not restricted to animal products.

Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men
Hibbeln et al.
Journal of affective disorders, 2018

Vegetarians [n = 350 (3.6% of sample)], had higher depression scores on average than non-vegetarians (mean difference 0.96 points [95%CI + 0.53, + 1.40]) and a greater risk for EPDS scores above 10 (adjusted OR = 1.67 [95% CI: 1.14,2.44]) than non-vegetarians after adjustment for potential confounding factors.

Vegetarianism, depression, and the five factor model of personality
Catherine A. Forestell & John B. Nezlek
Ecology of food and nutrition, 2018

Although vegetarians and semi-vegetarians were more open to new experiences, they were more neurotic and depressed than omnivores.

Association between dietary patterns and depressive symptoms among middle-aged adults in China in 2016–2017
Wang et al.
Psychiatry research, 2018


Four major dietary patterns were identified by factor analysis: traditional Chinese, Western, grains-vegetables and high-salt patterns. After controlling for potential confounders, participants in the highest quartile of the Western pattern scores had greater odds of depressive symptoms than those in the lowest quartile. In contrast, participants in the highest quartile of the grains-vegetables pattern had lower odds of depressive symptoms than those in the lowest quartile. Nevertheless, no significant associations were observed between the traditional Chinese and high-salt patterns and the risk of depressive symptoms, even after adjusting for potential confounders. The findings indicate that the Western pattern is associated with an increased risk, and the grains-vegetables pattern is associated with a reduced risk of depressive symptoms.

Lifestyle choices and mental health: a longitudinal survey with German and Chinese students
Velten et al.
BMC public health, 2018

Better mental health (higher PMH and fewer MHP) at baseline was predicted by a lower body mass index, a higher frequency of physical and mental activities, non-smoking, a non-vegetarian diet, and a more regular social rhythm.

Adhering to a vegetarian diet may create a greater risk of depressive symptoms in the elderly male Chinese population
Li et al.
Journal of affective disorders, 2018

The elderly participants who had a vegetable-based diet had the highest GDS scores of 8.78 ± 6.894 (p = 0.001) and the highest rate of depression (32.9%, p = 0.003). After adjustment for the potential confounders, elderly men who had a vegetable-based diet had a higher rate of depression (OR[95%CI]: 1.62[1.07-2.46], 4.71[1.38-16.03]), more severe symptoms of depression (OR[95%CI]: 8.85[2.94-34.12]), and higher GDS scores (β[95%CI]: 1.46[0.70-2.22], 2.97[1.28-4.67]) than male participants who had a meat-based diet, but this was not the case in women.

Dietary patterns and depressive symptoms in a UK cohort of men and women: a longitudinal study
Northstone et al.
Public health nutrition, 2017

We found no association between dietary patterns and depressive symptoms after taking account of potential confounding factors and the potential temporal relationship between them. This suggests that previous studies reporting positive associations may have suffered from reverse causality and/or residual confounding.

Vegetarian diet as a risk factor for depression
Azize Asanova
Psychosomatic medicine and general practice, 2017

The study enrolled 9668 men, 350 (3.6%) of them reported being vegetarians or vegans (311 vegetarians, 39 vegans). The duration of adherence to vegetarian diet ranged from 1 to 41 years (2/3 of men at the moment of evaluation had been vegetarians for more than 10 years). The study found that male vegetarians had more severe depressive symptoms according to EDPS and had a greater risk of depression. On average vegetarians more often received more than 10 points, than non-vegetarians (p<0.0001). This was also confirmed after adjusting to socio-demographic variables. Vegetarians had a 67% higher depression risk (> 10 points) than those who did not follow this diet.

(les végétariens, et pas seulement les végétaliens, devraient prendre un supplément de vitamine B12)

Neuropsychiatric and neurological problems among Vitamin B12 deficient young vegetarians
Kapoor et al.
Neurosciences, 2017

Vegetarians have Vitamin B12 deficiency and are more prone to developing neuropsychiatric and neurological problems.

Meat Consumption During Pregnancy and Substance Misuse Among Adolescent Offspring: Stratification of TCN2 Genetic Variants
Joseph R. Hibbeln et al., 2017

Lower prenatal meat consumption was associated with increased risks of adolescent substance misuse. Interactions between TCN2 variant status and meat intake implicate cobalamin deficiencies.

Associations between dietary patterns and psychological factors: a cross-sectional study among Chinese postmenopausal women
Liu et al.
Menopause, 2016


Multivariable linear regression analyses indicated that whole plant food intake was negatively associated with depression score (P = 0.030). Processed food intake was positively associated with perceived stress (P = 0.025) and depression (P = 0.073), and negatively associated with scores of self-esteem (P = 0.046). The highest tertile of processed foods score was associated with 79.3% increased risk of depression (P for trend = 0.006), whereas the highest tertile of whole plant food score was associated with 26% reduction of depression (P for trend = 0.023) relative to the lowest tertile.

The Difference in Depression and Anxiety Rate between Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians: A National Study among Icelandic Adolescents.
Karen Gréta Minney Pétursdóttir
Reykjavik university, 2015
Those who did not eat meat had significantly higher scores on the depression scale than those who ate meat.There was not a difference on the anxiety scale.These results lead to the conclusion that excluding meat from your diet can increase the likelihood of depression.

Empirically derived dietary patterns in relation to psychological disorders
Hosseinzadeh et al.
Public health nutrition, 2015


After adjustment for potential confounders, greater adherence to the lacto-vegetarian dietary pattern was protectively associated with depression in women (OR=0·65; 95 % CI 0·46, 0·91). Normal-weight participants in the top quintile of this dietary pattern tended to have decreased odds of anxiety compared with those in the bottom quintile (OR=0·61; 95 % CI 0·38, 1·00). In addition, the traditional dietary pattern was associated with increased odds of depression (OR=1·42; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·99) and anxiety (OR=1·56; 95 % CI 1·00, 2·42) in women. Normal-weight participants in the highest quintile of the traditional dietary pattern had greater odds for anxiety (OR=1·89; 95 % CI 1·12, 3·08) compared with those in the lowest quintile. The Western dietary pattern was associated with increased odds of depression in men (OR=1·73; 95 % CI 1·07, 2·81) and anxiety in normal-weight participants (OR=2·05; 95 % CI 1·22, 3·46). There was a significant increasing trend in the odds of psychological distress across increasing quintiles of the fast food dietary pattern in women (P-trend=0·02).
Cette étude rapporte, chez les hommes seulement, moins de stress et d’anxiété chez les végans que chez les omnivores.

Vegans report less stress and anxiety than omnivores.
Beezhold et al.
Nutrition and neurosciences, 2015

Anxiety scores were different in males only (F(2,128) = 5.39, p = 0.006, η(p)(2) = 0.078) and lower anxiety in males was related to a vegan diet and daily fruit and vegetable intake. Mean stress scores were different in females only (F(2,476) = 3.82, p = 0.023, η(p)(2) = 0.016) and lower stress in females was related to a vegan diet and lower daily intake of sweets.


A strict plant-based diet does not appear to negatively impact mood, in fact, reduction of animal food intake may have mood benefits. The improved mood domains were not consistent with those found in other studies, which may be due to methodological differences.

Nutrition and Health – The Association between Eating Behavior and Various Health Parameters: A Matched sample study
Nathalie T. Burkert et al.
Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Medical University Graz, 2014
our results showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), a higher need for health care, and poorer quality of life

Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey
Johannes Michalak et al.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2012

Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. Due to the matching procedure, the findings cannot be explained by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians (e.g. higher rates of females, predominant residency in urban areas, high proportion of singles). The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders.

Restriction of meat, fish, and poultry in omnivores improves mood: A pilot randomized controlled trial
Beezhold & Johnston
Nutrition journal, 2012

Mood scores were unchanged for OMN or FISH participants, but several mood scores for VEG participants improved significantly after two weeks.

Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults
Bonnie Beezhold et al.
Nutrition journal, 2010

Vegetarians (VEG:n = 60) reported significantly less negative emotion than omnivores (OMN:n = 78) as measured by both mean total DASS and POMS scores (8.32 ± 0.88 vs 17.51 ± 1.88, p = .000 and 0.10 ± 1.99 vs 15.33 ± 3.10, p = .007, respectively).

How does the health and well-being of young Australian vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women compare with non-vegetarians?
Baines et al.
Public health nutrition, 2007

Ici, malgré des indicateurs indirects plutôt favorables (plus minces et plus d’activité physique), problèmes menstruels et moins bonne santé mentale :

Semi-vegetarians and vegetarians had poorer mental health, with 21-22% reporting depression compared with 15% of non-vegetarians (P < 0.001). Low iron levels and menstrual symptoms were also more common in both vegetarian groups. Vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women were more likely to consult alternative health practitioners and semi-vegetarians reported taking more prescription and non-prescription medications. Compared with non-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians were less likely and vegetarians much less likely to be taking the oral contraceptive pill.

The levels of physical activity and body mass indices of the vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women suggest they are healthier than non-vegetarians. However, the greater reports of menstrual problems and the poorer mental health of these young women may be of clinical significance.

Vegetarianism and eating disorders: association between eating attitudes and other psychological factors among Turkish adolescents
Bas et al.
Appetite, 2005

As a conclusion, the present study indicated abnormal eating attitudes, low self-esteem, high social physique anxiety, and high trait anxiety in Turkish vegetarian adolescents. The vegetarian adolescents may be more likely to display disordered eating attitudes and behaviors than nonvegetarians.

The state of mind of vegetarians: Psychological well-being or distress.
Lindeman, M.
Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 2002

The results showed that vegetarian and semivegetarian women had a lower self-esteem and more symptoms of depression and eating disorders than omnivorous women. In addition, vegetarian women had a more negative view of the world than semivegetarian or omnivorous women did. The results suggest that although vegetarians may be healthier, they may be less happy than other individuals.

Characteristics of vegetarian adolescents in a multiethnic urban population
Perry et al.
Journal of adolescent health, 2001.

The vegetarians were more likely than non vegetarians to be female, not black, weight- and body-conscious, dissatisfied with their bodies, and involved in a variety of healthy and unhealthy weight control behaviors. Vegetarians more often reported having been told by a physician that they had an eating disorder and were more likely to have contemplated and attempted suicide. Vegetarian males were found to be an especially high risk group for unhealthy weight control practices. Few ethnic group differences among vegetarians were noted. Adolescents who did not eat chicken and fish were at lower risk than those who also ate chicken and fish.

Adolescent vegetarians are at greater risk than others for involvement in unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors. Vegetarian males are at particularly high risk. Vegetarianism among adolescents may therefore be a signal for preventive intervention. Adolescents who choose to become vegetarians may also need to learn how to healthfully do so.

Association of Western and traditional diets with depression and anxiety in women.
Jacka et al.
The american journal of psychiatry, 2010

After adjustments for age, socioeconomic status, education, and health behaviors, a « traditional » dietary pattern characterized by vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and whole grains was associated with lower odds for major depression or dysthymia and for anxiety disorders. A « western » diet of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and beer was associated with a higher GHQ-12 score. There was also an inverse association between diet quality score and GHQ-12 score that was not confounded by age, socioeconomic status, education, or other health behaviors.

The Connection Between Anxiety, Depression + Omega Fats

The Connection Between Anxiety, Depression + Omega Fats

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