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Pros and Cons Of A Vegetarian Diet
November 15, 2021
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian diet focuses mainly on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts etc. It is one of the healthy eating patterns to follow.
Vegetarianism has been practiced for centuries in various civilizations around the world, with written references going as far back as the sixth century AD in Europe. At its core, a vegetarian diet omits meat, poultry and fish.
Types of Vegetarian Diet
There are several varieties of a vegetarian diet, including:
The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet: Eliminates meat, fish and poultry but allows eggs and dairy products.
The lacto-vegetarian diet: Eliminates meat, fish, poultry and eggs but allows dairy products.
The ovo-vegetarian diet: Eliminates meat, fish, poultry and dairy products but allows eggs.
The pescatarian diet: Eliminates meat and poultry but allows fish; sometimes allows eggs and dairy products.
The vegan diet: Eliminates meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products, as well as other animal-derived products such as honey.
Some diets are not considered vegetarian but share overlapping principles. One example is the flexitarian diet, which is a flexible eating style that emphasizes the addition of plant or plant-based foods and beverages, incorporates dairy and eggs and encourages meat to be consumed less frequently and/or in smaller portions.
A vegetarian diet can have a positive impact on one’s health it includes:
- Dietary Sources of Vitamins and Minerals
- Heart Health Benefits
- Decreased Cancer Risk
- Improved Blood Glucose Management
- Possible nutrient deficiencies
- Fewer food choices
- Reduced satiety
- Less convenient
- Not always healthy
- Exposure to chemicals
In summary, due to its association with numerous health benefits, the vegetarian diet is one of the three healthy dietary patterns highlighted in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. While there are a few types of vegetarian diets, all emphasize plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Although there are a few nutrients that vegetarian diets can be low in, with thoughtful preparation it is possible to receive the nutrients you need while adhering to this diet.
Important Reminder: Any type of food supplement is not a medicine and cannot be used as a medicine for any type of disease.