Vegetatian Diet

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Vegetarian Diet

The vegetarian diet is designed to maintain or attain optimal nutrition for persons who choose to follow a vegetarian life style.

The vegetarian diet may be used by any person who chooses to follow it for religious preferences, health concerns, environmental considerations, humanitarian issues, economic or political reasons.

Types of vegetarianism

  • Vegan (total vegetarian diet):

    • Excludes all meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheeses, and all other foods containing animal products.

    • Diet is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.

  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian diet:

    • Excludes meat and usually fish.

    • Diet is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs and dairy products.

  • Lacto Vegetarian diet - Vegan diet including dairy products :

    • Excludes meat, fish, and eggs.

    • Diet is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

  • Ovo-vegetarian diet - Vegan diet including egg :

    • Excludes the use of all meats, fish, poultry, milk, cheeses, and all other foods containing animal products.

    • Diet is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds.

  • Pesco vegetarian diet - Lacto-ovo vegetarian regime including fish :

    • Excludes meat.

    • Diet is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy products and fish.

  • Semi-vegetarian diet:

    • Excludes only red meat.

    • Diet is based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy products, chicken and fish.

  • Fruitarians:

    • Diet based on fruits and vegetables that are botanically considered fruits. Only plants that spread their seeds through being consumed are eaten.

Protein in the vegetarian diet

The selection of foods for a vegetarian diet must take into consideration daily needs for all nine (10 for children) essential amino acids (protein quality), as well as total protein quantity.

Amino acids are used for tissue growth; repair and maintenance in the body. They must be obtained from the foods you consume each day, as your body can not synthesize them.

Protein are differentiated into complete and incomplete proteins :

  • Complete protein:

    • A single source of animal (flesh, egg or dairy) protein containing all the essential amino acids or proper combination of complementary protein sources

  • Incomplete protein:

    • Plant and vegetable proteins (foods listed at bottom of the page)

    • The complete and incomplete proteins do not need to be consumed at the same meal as believed.

    • Intake of a variety of foods over the course of a day should provide adequate protein.

GENERAL DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A VEGETARIAN DIET

The following are guidelines to keep in mind when eating a vegetarian diet.

  • Sufficient calories from carbohydrates and fat sources should be obtained so that protein may be used for body maintenance and growth.

  •  To meet the daily protein need the following proportions from each food group should be obtained:

    • 60% from grains

    • 35% from legumes

    • 5% from leafy greens

Variety in selection from food groups (legumes, whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables) is necessary.

Research now suggests that complementary proteins (legumes and grains, grains and nuts, or legumes and nuts) do not need to be consumed at the same meal. Intake of a variety of foods over the course of a day should provide adequate protein.

Vegan diets tend to be high in folate, which may mask deficiencies of vitamin B12.

Reduced levels of vitamin B12 may cause a severe form of anaemia; therefore, periodic evaluations (approx. every 6 months) of blood proteins, hematocrit and folate levels is recommended.

Supplementation of vitamin B-12 or vitamin B-12 fortified foods is suggested for vegetarians who avoid or limit animal foods.

Vitamin B-12 present in spirulina, algae, sea vegetables, tempeh and miso, is not in the form that the human body can use.

The vegetarian diet contains a lot of fiber and may require a great deal of food to meet the calorie requirements. To help meet this need, oils, margarines, and sweeteners may be included.

Supplementation of vitamin D or vitamin D fortified foods (some breakfast cereals and soy beverages are fortified with vitamin D) is suggested for vegetarians who avoid or limit milk and if sun exposure is limited.

Sun exposure to hands, arms, and face for 5-15 minutes a day is believed to be adequate to provide sufficient amounts of vitamin D. 

A high intake of vitamin C will help increase iron absorption

If animal protein sources such as dairy foods and eggs are included in the diet, choose lower-fat versions of these foods.

Choose whole, unrefined foods often and try decreasing intake of highly sweetened, fatty, and heavily refined foods.

It is recommended that vegetarians include good sources of linolenic acid in their diet.

Vegetarians should strive to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and folate.

Well-planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation.

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The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replaced professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions

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