A new study exploring the personalities and body mass of vegetarians and vegans found that they differ in notable ways, on average, when compared to that of meat-eaters. In addition to often having lower BMIs compared to their meat-eating counterparts, the study found that vegetarians are also more likely to have different personality traits, especially when it comes to the world of introverts and extroverts.
The research comes from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, where a large study used data on around 9,000 people to look into diet composition, personality, and body mass. As you’d likely expect, vegetarians and vegans were found to have lower BMIs compared to meat-eaters, the reasons likely being due to a combination of eating less processed foods and getting more fiber in their diets.
When it comes to body weight, the study found that people who eat secondary animal products like eggs and butter are almost more likely to have lower BMIs compared to people who eat primary animal products like fish and chicken.
As well, the study found key personality differences in people who are vegetarian and vegan compared to people who eat meat — namely, they are more likely to be introverts. The reasons for this aren’t at all clear, but the researchers speculate that it could be due to anything from having fewer socialization opportunities because of their diet to things like introverts having more restrictive eating habits overall.
Meanwhile, the study was not able to find a link between a lack of animal products in one’s diet and issues with depression or neuroticism, both of which have been implicated in past studies. This may be due to the general acceptance and increased adoption of plant-based diets, which has resulted in a large selection of vegetarians who may be eating this type of diet for different reasons compared to older generations.