is a vegetarian diet?
people follow a "vegetarian" diet, but there's no single
vegetarian eating pattern. The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes
only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and
peas), grains, seeds and nuts. The lactovegetarian diet includes plant
foods plus cheese and other dairy products. The ovo-lactovegetarian (or
lacto-ovovegetarian) diet also includes eggs. Semi-vegetarians don't eat
red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products
vegetarian diets healthful?
vegetarian diets are low in animal products. They’re also usually
lower than nonvegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat and
cholesterol. Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a
lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart
attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of
diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if they’re carefully
planned to include essential nutrients. However, a vegetarian diet can
be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and not enough important
are the nutrients to consider in a vegetarian diet?
need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet.
Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and
non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are
varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.
grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential
and non-essential amino acids. You don't need to consciously combine
these foods ("complementary proteins") within a given meal.
protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin. It
can be your sole protein source if you choose.
have a greater risk of iron deficiency than nonvegetarians. The
richest sources of iron are red meat, liver and egg yolk -- all high
in cholesterol. However, dried beans, spinach, enriched products,
brewer's yeast and dried fruits are all good plant sources of iron.
comes naturally only from animal sources. Vegans need a reliable
source of vitamin B-12. It can be found in some fortified (not
enriched) breakfast cereals, fortified soy beverages, some brands of
nutritional (brewer's) yeast and other foods (check the labels), as
well as vitamin supplements.
should have a reliable source of vitamin D. Vegans who don’t get
much sunlight may need a supplement.
that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than
nonvegetarians do. Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and
broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of
calcium from plants.
Zinc is needed
for growth and development. Good plant sources include grains, nuts
and legumes. Shellfish are an excellent source of zinc. Take care to
select supplements containing no more than 15-18 mg zinc. Supplements
containing 50 mg or more may lower HDL ("good") cholesterol
in some people.
meal plans are recommended?
type of vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and
enough calories to meet your energy needs.
your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are
low in nutrients and high in calories.
whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or
enriched cereal products.
a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good
sources of vitamins A and C.
you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat
are high in cholesterol (213 mg per yolk), so monitor your use of
them. Limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per