The Vegetarian Diet Essay is becoming increasingly popular all the time. Is the
vegetarian or meat diet better? A decade ago and earlier, the impression was
that a vegetarian diet was lacking in the nutrients found in meat products.
Today though, through research and nutritional science, it has been proven that
all the nutrients found in meat can also be found in the correct vegetarian
diet. Some may argue that by only consuming meat that is low in fat, meat and
vegetarian diets have identical benefits. This is true only if one eats only
very low fat meat.
The lack of meat is not necessarily the main benefit of to
the vegetarian. Vegetarians tend to eat more fruits, vegetables and grains that
the meat eater. They also tend not to use tobacco and excessive alcohol. In
addition, vegetarians tend to get more exercise. The term vegetarian can be
misleading. This diet can take on many different variations.
A fruitarian eats
only fruits, seeds and nuts while the vegan eats these and vegetables, grains
and legumes. A lacto vegetarian consumes the same as a vegan as well as dairy
products. A lacto-ovo vegetarian follows after the lacto vegetarian but also
includes eggs while the ovo vegetarian excludes dairy products. Finally, the
partial vegetarian eats anything except red meat, or at least strictly limits
it. Because the term vegetarian is used to cover all facets and variations, it
is difficult to identify health benefits resulting from the vegetarian diet
including all of the above. Most meat eaters do not realize that there are so
many variations to the vegetarian diet, which makes accurate studies even more
As a whole though, vegetarians tend to have less body fat than
nonvegetarians. This is most likely due to the low fat and high carbohydrate
content of their diet. Vegetarians usually have lower blood pressure than meat
eaters because of lifestyle and diet. Other factors probably include exercise
and resistance to smoking and alcohol intake. Coronary artery disease is
directly related to saturated fat intake. In studies testing cholesterol levels,
vegetarians beat out all others including those that only ate lean meats.
however, lowers blood cholesterol, as does soy. Another benefit is the lack of
digestive disorders among vegetarians. It is possible that this is directly
related to the high fiber content consumed. The last main benefit of the
vegetarian diet is its relationship to cancer rate reduction, especially colon
cancer. People who develop colon cancer tend to eat more meat, less fiber, and
more saturated fat than those without colon cancer. This is the same case with
The only advantage a meat eater might have over a vegetarian
would be during pregnancy and childhood. Studies have shown that children grow
best when they eat meat products. Likewise, vegetarian women may enter pregnancy
too thin and be lacking in stores of nutrients. Obviously, there are advantages
and drawbacks to both diets however I feel the vegetarian diets advantages
greatly outweigh its shortcomings. Whether a meat eater or vegetarian, both
diets can contribute to good health with proper planning.
Health Care .