ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a recent study, vegetarians are more likely to feel that they are unhealthy than meat-eaters.

Researchers from the Medical University of Graz analyzed data from over 1,300 Austrian participants and found that those with a meat-free diet were more likely to feel unhealthy and to think they had a poorer quality of life in terms of physical health, social relationships, and environmental factors.

Researchers from the Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology compared over 15,000 samples of vegetarians in age, sex and social backgrounds with people who ate meat. The samples were compiled from a database.

“The vegetarians have indicated that they have a worse subjective health condition, more health restrictions and increased allergies, and incidences of cancer and mental illness,” Nathalie Burkert, an epidemiologist and lead researcher on the study, told The Guardian.

The research team was not able to conclude a cause and effect between a vegetarian diet and unhealthy living and say that further research would be needed to determine this.

Researchers also found that vegetarians had a lower body mass index and drink less alcohol.

Researchers determined that participants who took part in the Mediterranean diet – which is high in fruits and vegetables and include moderate meat intake – were found to be feeling more healthy and suffered less frequently from chronic diseases.

“They had better health and a better quality of life and fewer visits to the doctors,” Burkert said.

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