What are Vegetarian Diets and Types of Vegetarians?

What are Vegetarian Diets and Types of Vegetarians?
What Are Vegetarian Diets?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. Vegetarianism is not new. It is a pattern of eating that has been followed for centuries by followers of some religions and by those who have not had meat available to them.

Vegetarian diets are increasingly popular in the world. People become vegetarians for many reasons. Religious doctrine may restrict followers from eating food from animal sources. Some vegetarians have a moral position against taking animal life. Others follow a vegetarian diet for health reasons. Cost may also be a reason. Vegetarian alternatives are less expensive than meat.

There are several different vegetarian food patterns. Almost all vegetarians eat vegetables, fruits, dried beans and peas, nuts, and enriched bread and cereal products. But some eat animal products, such as milk and eggs, and others consume poultry or fish. Here are various styles of vegetarians diets. See below.

Types of Vegetarians

Vegans: strict vegetarians who eat or drink no animal or dairy products
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: those who drink milk and eat eggs but consume no other animal product.
Lacto-vegetarians: those whose only source of an animal product is milk.
Ovo-vegetarians: thos who eat eggs but no other animal product.
Pesco-vegetarinas: those who eat fish but no other animal product.
Vegetarians who eat fish and chicken but no red meat.
Fruitarians: those whose diet is composed chiefly of fruits and nuts.

A Balanced Vegetarian Diet

A carefully chose vegetarian diet can be as healthy and nutritionally sound as a diet that includes meat. Like other diets, a vegetarian menu must be balanced to supply nutrients and calories in adequate amounts.

Food-group guidelines often can be used for planning and evaluating diets. Choosing a balance diet is relatively east for a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Lacto means milk and ovo means eggs. For those who abstain from animal flesh altogether, eggs, dried beans and peas, nuts and peanut butter, cheese, other dairy products, and meat analogues are alternate choices. If you substitute plant proteins for animal proteins in either a vegetarian or nonvegetarian diet, you need to understand amino acids and complementary protein foods. Your diet must supply eight or more essential amino acids in adequate amounts because your body cannot produce them. Food from animal sources(except butter and gelatin) have all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. These foods are high-quality proteins. Plant sources of protein lack one or more essential amino acids. However, they may be combines to supplement one another and produce high quality protein. For example, succotash, a vegetable dish of lima beans and corn, has complementary proteins. Lima beans are low in amino acids cystine and methionine, but high in lysine. Corn contributes adequate amounts of cystine and methionine, but limited supplies of lysine. Together they supply the high quality protein the body needs. By combining plant foods with animal sources of protein, the protein from plants also becomes more usable.

An Unbalanced Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet that is selected haphazardly can be detrimental to health. A diet of low quality protein may slow growth and development, particularly among children, teenagers, and pregnant women. If protein is severly restricted, a vegetarian diet may even cause retardation.

Other nutrients commonly deficient in a vegetarian diet can also lead to health problems. Because many vegetarians avoid iron rich foods, anemia is now more prevalent among this group. When milk and milk products are restricted, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin D are generally deficient. Other foods supply calcium and riboflavin, but in relatively small amounts. For children and teenagers, vitamin D is essential for growth and development of the skeleton, Unless they spend a great deal of time in the sun or take cod liver oil, they might not get enough vitamin D. A vegetarian diet that restricts all animal sources of food generally causes vitamin B12 deficiency.


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