When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians. These are people who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products. Vegetarian diets are commonly defined by what they exclude rather than what they include. All vegetarians exclude meat products, including beef, chicken, pork, and seafood. For example, many people do not allow eggs on a vegetarian diet, whereas others prohibit certain types of cheese in a vegetarian diet due to the use of rennet, which can be animal-based.
” The truth is people who follow a vegetarian dietary style can eat everything they want. The difference is that people who identify as vegetarianschoose not to eat certain things. Similar to environmental vegetarianism is the concept of economic vegetarianism. Some groups, such as PETA, promote vegetarianism as a way to offset poor treatment and working conditions of workers in the contemporary meat industry. However, the working conditions of agricultural workers as a whole, particularly non-permanent workers, remain poor and well below conditions prevailing in other economic sectors. Accidents, including pesticide poisoning, among farmers and plantation workers contribute to increased health risks, including increased mortality.
Fruits and vegetables also have good concentrations of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure. In one study, vegetarians had half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with nonvegetarians. Many studies claim that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables may be the key. Being vegetarian may make it easier to get in the daily recommended five servings. While the benefit isn’t significant, vegetarians may have a slight edge with lowering cancer risk. The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Jolinda Hackett has written five books about plant-based cooking and has developed hundreds of vegan and vegetarian recipes. The rate of vegetarianism by country varies substantially from relatively low levels in countries such as the Netherlands (5%) to more considerable levels in India (20–40%). Jewish vegetarianism and veganism have become especially popular among Israeli Jews. In 2016, Israel was described as “the most vegan country on Earth”, as five percent of its population eschewed all animal products. Interest in veganism has grown among both non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews in Israel.
While vegan diets can offer health benefits, they may be low in certain nutrients. When cutting meat or other animal products from your diet, it’s important to ensure you’re getting these essential nutrients from other sources. Other animal products like dairy and eggs also contain plenty of calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins .
Some followers of Islam, or Muslims, chose to be vegetarian for health, ethical, or personal reasons. However, the choice to become vegetarian for non-medical reasons can sometimes be controversial due to conflicting fatwas and differing interpretations of the Quran. Though some more traditional Muslims may keep quiet about their vegetarian diet, the number of vegetarian Muslims is increasing. The International Vegetarian Union, an association of the national societies, was founded in 1908.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians can obtain B12 from dairy products and eggs, and vegans can obtain it from manufactured fortified foods (including plant-based products and breakfast cereals) and dietary supplements. The recommended daily dietary intake of B12 in the United States and Canada is 0.4 mcg (ages 0–6 months), rising to 1.8 mcg (9–13 years), 2.4 mcg (14+ years), and 2.8 mcg . While the body’s daily requirement for vitamin B12 is in microgram amounts, deficiency of the vitamin through strict practice of a vegetarian diet without supplementation can increase the risk of several chronic diseases. Vegetarian diets typically contain similar levels of iron to non-vegetarian diets, but this has lower bioavailability than iron from meat sources, and its absorption can sometimes be inhibited by other dietary constituents. According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, consuming food that contains vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juices, tomatoes, or broccoli, is a good way to increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal. The related vegan diets can often be higher in iron than vegetarian diets, because dairy products are low in iron.