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Vegetarianism: Pros and Cons of Being On a Vegetarian Diet & Its Types

The concept of vegetarianism or vegan diet isn’t a much new concept, but lately, it has become more popular in the recent days.

People are adapting more to the vegetarian diet rather than the meat diet as the vegetarian diet is low in fat content and rich in fiber. They are aware that the foods rich in nutrient, help them to stay healthy and fit.

The poll conducted by a vegetarian resource group in the US showed that the number of people adapting to the vegetarianism has increased in number compared to the data of previous year. Similar results were obtained in the countries of Israel, India, and Europe.

A vegetarian diet refers to stopping the consumption of animal products including meat, fish, poultry, and others. In case of a vegetarian diet, you should limit your consumption only to plant-related foods like fruits, whole grains, dairy, and veggies.


Different Types of Vegetarianism

There are different types of Vegetarian which are mentioned below:

1) Lacto-Vegetarian

This category of people do not eat animal products like meat, fish, and eggs but they eat milk products like cheese and yogurt. Mostly people from South Asian subcontinent opt for this kind of diet.


2) Vegan

The people in this category don’t eat animal products or by-products. They do not use animal products also like the sea, wool, leather, and others. Neither does this person from this category eat animal products nor do they eat it.


3) Ovo-Vegetarian

These people limit their consumption only to egg, avoiding meat, poultry, fish, egg, and dairy.


4) Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian

These people limit their consumption only to egg and dairy, restricting the use of meat, poultry, and fish. These kinds of vegetarians are found all over the world.


Pros and Cons of Vegetarianism

A vegetarian diet has some advantages, but like everything has a good phase and bad phase, vegetarianism too has certain disadvantages. A vegetarian diet is usually low in the unhealthy saturated kind of fat.

Vegetarian diets offer to follow a healthy way of eating which if taken with caution can help prevent nutrient deficiency.


A) Pros of Being a Vegetarian

Some of the benefits or pros of being on a vegetarian diet include:

1) Protects Against Diseases

Vegetarian foods are known to protect the body from various diseases like cancer, chronic fatigue, cholesterol problems and diabetes.

Being low in unsaturated fats, they are very healthy. It also helps in reducing the risk of coronary artery problems. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants and also have low cholesterol and fats.


2) Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

Meat consumption increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Since vegetarian diets are rich in whole grains and nuts, it helps in enhancing the glycaemic control. This proves to be beneficial for people who have diabetes.


3) Lowers Risk of Cancer

Vegetarian people are found to have 40% less chance of developing cancer. People who consume animal protein are at a four-fold increase in the risk due to cancer as compared to people who eat plant-derived proteins like that from legumes, as per a study of 2014.

If you are on a vegetarian diet, you will have an improved immunity system, which will help to fight the cancerous cells.


4) Ideal for Weight Loss

Most of the people in America face obesity because of the rich content of unsaturated fats, calories, and unhealthy cholesterol.

The result of the research of Society for the Prevention of The Diseases has shown that including low-fat foods in your diet, can help a lot in weight loss.

Hence, a vegetarian diet is often recommended for people aiming for weight loss.


5) Offers Complete Nutritional Benefits

Planned vegetarian diet efficiently provides all the required amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in the body. The USDA and FAO of UN stated that meat always doesn’t form a healthy diet.


6) Live a Long and Healthy Life

It is often found that people who are on a vegetarian diet have a long life. Eating meats very often, affect the arteries and veins, increasing the free radicals in the body, which leads to premature death of the people. It is found that vegetarian diet adds up 13 years to your life.

The vegetarian foods provide all the essential nutrients with less carbohydrate and fat intake. It also offers for increased fibers, vitamins, antioxidants and protein intake of the body.


7) Improve Colon Health

The fibers of vegetarian diet obtained from plants help in improving the colon health by inducing good bacteria. When excess water is provided, it will also assist in cleansing the colon.

The fibers help in feeding the bacteria. The fibers also act as an essential part of removing excrete waste from the body. Due to high fiber in the vegetarian diet, it also helps to reduce the risk of constipation and colon cancer.

However, the meat diet is often hard to digest and disturbs the balance of the body. They also do not help to induce the good bacteria which is essential for improving the gut lining.


8) Cures Problems Related to Menopause

The phytoestrogens in vegetarian foods have the same effect as that of female hormones estrogen. Women who are in the phase of menopause can be benefitted by eating foods rich in phytoestrogen. Soybeans contain a high amount of phytoestrogen. Oranges, apples, broccoli, raspberries are also rich in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogen also contributes towards weight gain.


9) Strong Bones

Foods rich in calcium such as tofu, soybeans, kale, broccoli, turnips and others if consumed on a regular basis can play an essential role in strengthening the bones. The dark green vegetables help to have the healthy bones.

Organic foods also help to make up for the lost calcium in the body. Milk also enriches the bones with calcium, which contributes towards the healthy bones.


10) Reduces the Risk of Kidney Stones

A diet containing animal proteins are likely to increase the excretion of calcium, oxalate and uric acid. These components form kidney stones. Animal rich protein diet is likely to increase the risk of kidney stone formation, whereas vegan diet helps in reducing it.

In the USA about 15% of men and 7% of women were found to be suffering from kidney stones due to high consumption of a diet rich in animal protein.


B) Cons of Being a Vegetarian

Apart from all the benefits mentioned above, there are certain disadvantages or cons of vegetarianism too.

Some of the cons of a vegetarian diet are as follows:

1) In case of going out, choosing your food becomes tough because most of the restaurants are targeted at non-veg people. Some people are often too conservative and don’t want to share the same oven as that of the non-veg people. Hence, choosing food in the outer places becomes complex for the vegetarian people.

2) Though you may have some food choices, when it comes to a vegetarian diet, you have a limited number. It can be confusing for the beginners, but you can mix and match the food types, and come up with your variation of foods.

3) In case of a vegetarian diet, there are possibilities of deficiency in nutrients. Vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient is absent in vegetarian foods. Vegetarians also do not get to enjoy the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is often found in fatty fish. However, improper selection of food can also lead to nutrient deficiencies.

4) Vegetarian people often have a different lifestyle compared to the non-veg people around them. Their food choices are also pretty limited, which sometimes make the people around them uncomfortable to deal with the vegetarian people owing to their different food habits.

5) Nowadays to improve the quality of crops and keeps the vegetables fresh, some pesticides and herbicides are used. So, you can well fathom that while you’re eating a vegetable, you are ending up taking some chemicals which may prove to be fatal for you.

6) Though it may seem that vegetarianism is a healthy choice, it may not be so. The healthy choice of your diet depends upon your meal choice. A vegetarian diet rich in sugar and other carbohydrates can turn up to be very harmful. It wouldn’t benefit your body as much as you want it to. So, be very careful while selecting your meal in case of a vegetarian diet.

7) Every time a vegetarian moves out to buy any food, they are likely to read the labels provided on the packaging to determine whether the food is veg or non-veg. Some people may be a bit fine with the presence of a little number of meats in their products, but some are very rigid in their food selection.

8) A meat-free diet isn’t available everywhere, so these vegetarian people have to face the challenge of learning to cook on their own. To avoid the scruples, these vegetarian people often cook on their own. Depending on the needs, the vegetarian people adjust their cooking skills. Although cooking vegetarian foods isn’t much difficult.


Final Thoughts

A vegetarian diet is chosen over meat diet. This is considered to be more beneficial. People following vegetarianism select natural foods as they consider it to be safer. These are the pro and cons of vegetarianism.

You can ask your dietician to assist you in making a balanced diet with the proper combination of essential nutrients and vitamins. It has often seen that well planned vegetarian diets help a lot in reducing the chronic diseases.

Vegetables are also known to offer strength and a natural glow to the skin. This is the reason why people all across the globe prefer to add vegetarian foods to their diet.

There some dishes which you can try to start the vegetarian diet. To avail all the benefits, make sure that you make vegetarian foods a part of your diet.