Independent following a vegan diet don't eat meat or fish yet may keep on eating eggs and dairy items.
A person does not have to eat meat to get all the nutrients they need for good health. A meat-free diet can lead to better health for several reasons.
One reason is that many people who follow a vegetarian diet tend to consume a high proportion of fresh, healthful, plant-based foods, which provide antioxidants and fiber. When a person decides to follow a meat-free diet, they often become more active in making overall healthy choices.
Many studies agree that a vegetarian diet can offer a range of health benefits.
Studies show that a vegan or vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer.
A non-meat diet may also reduce Trusted Source the risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity and type 2 diabetes.
According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 5% of people in the United States describe themselves as vegetarian, including 2% of people aged 55 and over, 8% of those aged 18–34 years, and 7% of people aged 35–54.
This article will focus on the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which includes dairy products and eggs.
A vegetarian diet can provide a wide variety of healthful, nutritious foods, but what the person eats will depend on the type of diet they are following and their personal food choices.
There is a variety of diets that come under the umbrella term vegetarian:
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians avoid both meat and fish but consume dairy and eggs.
Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products but no eggs.
Ovo-vegetarians consume eggs but no dairy.
Some people who do not eat meat will eat fish. This is a pescatarian diet, rather than a vegetarian diet.
A vegan diet excludes all animal-based foods.
People following a vegetarian diet must make careful choices about what they eat to ensure that they meet their nutritional requirements. Some people may need supplements.
Benefits of Vegetarian Diet:
A growing number of younger people are adopting a vegetarian diet, as the Gallup poll shows.
They may do this because:
it brings health benefits
it is a more ecologically sustainable option
they have concerns about the treatment of animals
it is part of a broader lifestyle choice
Some people also avoid meat and animal products for religious reasons.
Here are some ways in which avoiding meat products can enhance a person’s health.
Weight: Switching to a vegetarian diet may help a person lose weight, at least in the short-term, according to a 2016 meta-analysisTrusted Source. Scientists need to carry out longer term controlled studies to understand how a vegetarian diet might affect weight.
Cholesterol: A systematic reviewTrusted Source published in 2015 concluded that people who follow a vegetarian diet are likely to have lower overall cholesterol levels.
Cancer: A studyTrusted Source of data for nearly 70,000 people found evidence that the incidence of cancer overall was lower among vegetarians than non-vegetarians. The authors suggested that a non-meat diet may offer some protection from cancer.
Heart health: Authors of a 2014 studyTrusted Source found a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in people who followed a vegetarian diet in India. Studies in western countries had already produced similar results.
Diabetes: People who follow a vegetarian diet may be less likelyTrusted Source to have type 2 diabetes. One reason for this may be a higher intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts, and a lower intake of unhealthful fats.
These benefits will not automatically happen when a person stops eating meat. Alongside a vegetarian diet, people need to make sure they:
get the right number of calories
focus on a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
limit their intake of processed foods and alcohol
avoid unhealthful fats and added sugar and salt
engage in an overall healthful lifestyle, with plenty of exercise
In addition to the health benefits, experts say a plant-based diet is more sustainable, as it causes less harm to the environment than a meat-based diet. - Published by The Beyond News (Food&Health).