Study Finds Meat-Eaters to Be More Extroverted Than Vegetarians—Here's Why
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are," 19th-century French lawyer and politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once said.
German researchers recently discovered this may be scientifically true—especially when it comes to those who eat or skip meat—if the data they compiled from nearly 8,000 people is an example of the general population.
According to a study published in the latest issue of the journal Nutrients, people who are vegetarian or vegan tend to be more introverted than those who eat mainly animal products. While further research is needed to pinpoint exactly why, Veronica Witte, one of the scientists involved in the study, told ScienceDaily, "It could be because more introverted people tend to have more restrictive eating habits or because they are more socially segregated because of their eating habits."
(While eating out can occasionally be more challenging for vegetarians than for carnivores, we're firm believers that eating more plant-based foods need not be isolating. Our 30-day meatless challenge can prove how easy it is to stick to and enjoy!)
Previous studies found that neuroticism, another one of the other Big Five personality traits that's linked to higher levels of worrying, may be more common among vegetarians and vegans too. (Perhaps due to the fact that neurotic people were perhaps more likely to avoid certain groups of foods.) But this latest research did not find that same link.
It did find, however, that those who steer clear of steer (and other animal proteins) tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and body weight than those who eat more meat. The researchers guess that this may be due to the fact that many plants and plant-based proteins—such as lentils, beans and nuts—contain more fiber than their meaty counterparts. Therefore, those who consume a vegan or vegetarian diet may feel more full on fewer calories.
Whether these dietary differences are the cause of lower body weight or whether other related factors are responsible for is TBD, and it's important to remember that this study is showing a correlation rather than proving causation. In other words, eating less meat won't make you more shy. (It will likely save you money and help the environment, though!)