Lacto-ovo Vegetarian Diet
What Is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, and foods containing these products. There are many different variations of the vegetarian diet. This article focuses on the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which is based on plant foods, but also includes eggs and dairy.
Why Follow a Vegetarian Diet?
There are many health benefits associated with following a vegetarian diet. In general, vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and provide higher amounts of many vitamins and minerals than traditional western diets. Moreover, a well-balanced vegetarian diet may help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve cholesterol profile
- Reduce body mass index
- Reduce the risk of certain diseases, including ]]>hypertension]]> , ]]>type 2 diabetes]]> , ]]>prostate cancer]]> , and ]]>colon cancer]]>
People choose to follow a vegetarian diet for many different reasons, including health benefits, concern for the environment, and concern for animal welfare.
Vegetarian Diet Basics
A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is based on plant foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and nuts, in addition to dairy and eggs. To make sure that you meet all your nutrient needs on this diet, be sure to eat a variety of each of these types of foods. Nutrients that deserve extra attention to make sure they are eaten in sufficient amounts include: protein, ]]>iron]]> , ]]>calcium]]> , ]]>zinc]]> , ]]>vitamin B12]]> , ]]>vitamin D]]> , and ]]>omega-3 fatty acids]]> .
Eating Guide for a Vegetarian Diet
This guide is based on the current US food guide, MyPyramid. More information on the types of food included in each food category and serving sizes is available at http://www.MyPyramid.gov .
|Food Category||Daily Amount ]]>*]]>||Key Suggestions||Key Nutrients Provided|
|Grains||6 ounces (1 ounce = 1 slice bread, ¼ bagel, ½ cup cooked pasta or rice, 3 cups popcorn)|
|Vegetables||2½ cups (1 cup = 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables, 2 cups raw leafy vegetables)|
|Fruits||2 cups (1 cup = 1 cup fresh fruit, 1 cup fruit juice, ½ cup dried fruit)|
|Milk||3 cups (1 cup = 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 cup soy or rice milk, 1½ ounces natural cheese)|
|Legumes, Nuts, Eggs, and Other Protein Rich Foods||5½ ounces (1 ounce = ¼ cup cooked, dry beans; ½ cup tofu, ¼ cup tempeh, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, ½ ounce nuts)|
|Fats and Sweets||<265 calories|
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Recommended amount varies depending on age, gender, and activity level. The website http://www.MyPyramid.gov provides individualized amounts based on these factors.
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups every day.
- Limit your intake of cheese and other high fat dairy products.
- If you are new to this diet, do not just continue eating your usual diet minus the meat. Be sure to replace the meat with other protein-rich foods (eg, milk, beans, and nuts).
- Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to makes sure you are meeting all your nutrient needs on this diet. A dietitian can create a meal plan for you.
American Dietetic Association
The Vegetarian Resource Group
Dietitians of Canada
Toronto Vegetarian Association
American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. J Am D Assoc. 2009;109:1266-1282.
American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets. J Am D Assoc. 2003;103:748-765.
Messina V, Melina V, Mangels AR. A new food guide for North American vegetarians. Can J Diet Prac Res. 2003;64:82-86.
Vegetarian diets. MyPyramid.gov website. Available at: http://www.mypyramid.gov/tips_resources/vegetarian_diets.html. Accessed May 9, 2007.
Last reviewed January 2010 by ]]>Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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