Vegetarian diet

The main sources of protein are legumes, grains and nuts.

Refers to a diet that excludes or rarely includes meats.

Plant-based diet can reduce or maintain a healthy weight, lower risk factors of cholesterol, hypertension, and hemoglobin A-1 C.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that a vegetarian diet has beneficial effects on hypertension.

5% of Americans are vegetarians and up to 10% are vegetarian inclined.

Black Americans are almost three times more likely to be more vegan and vegetarian than all other Americans.

Some vegetarian diets include daily dairy products, eggs and fish.

All vegetarian diets emphasize foods of plant origin particularly vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits.

Veganism refers to the abstinence of all animal products including dairy and eggs.

Vegetarianism refers to avoiding all meats, poultry, seafood, and animal flesh.

Associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension.

This diet varies from a vegetarian diet which includes dairy and eggs to a diets excludes eggs, dairy products and other animal-based products.

These diets generally characterized as lowering cholesterol and saturated fat, and higher in fiber, magnesium potassium, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate, flavonoids, and other beneficial nutrients.

Includes higher intake of vegetables, unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and antioxidants (vitamins C., E. and carotenoids).

May be associated with higher fiber containing foods.

Consistently associated with lower body mass index.

British vegetarian diets have not been associated with a decreased incidence of colorectal cancer.

A meta-analysis found that the overall cancer incidence is 18% lower invegetarians than in non-vegetarians (Huang).

EPIC-Oxford Study: The authors categorized the participants into meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans, involving over 48,000 participants.



The researchers found that vegetarians/vegans had a lower risk of heart attack and heart disease than those who ate land animal protein.


A vegetarian diet does not reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke much more than other healthy dietary patterns, including the Mediterranean diet.



Compared to those who consumed land animal protein, lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans were 20% more likely to have a stroke of any kind, and 43% more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke.


A prospective study that suggested vegetarians and vegans were more likely to have a stroke than those who ate land animal protein.


Study members who did not eat land animal protein had lower circulating levels of B12, vitamin D, certain amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids, but had slightly lower BMI and better cholesterol and blood pressure scores, which may partially explain the difference in risk of heart attack versus stroke.

Adventist Health Study 2, a large prospective study of vegetarian dietary patterns revealed ian association with beneficial health outcomes including lower mortality, lower prevalence of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and type two diabetes.

Vegetarian diets decrease the risk of developing diabetes and improve insulin resistance.

Huang found a 9% lower all-cause mortality in over 124,000 vegetarians when compared to non-vegetarians.

Vegetarians are at increased risk for phosphorus deficiency. 


Vegetarian diets typically contain limited amounts of DHA.

A Seventh-day Adventist study of 34,000 vegetarians found women lived 2.52 years more and men 3.21 years longer than their meat-eating counterparts.

The above study was associated with an overall lower incidence of colorectal cancer.

A low fat vegetarian diet was a component of the Lifestyle Heart Trial that demonstrated angiographic regression of coronary disease.

In a study of patients with coronary heart disease who followed a vegan diet, no added oil diet, the rate of major cardiovascular events over 3.7 years was 0.6% (Esselstyn CB).

Contains lower amounts of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 than non-vegetarian diets.

Associated with lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, hypertension, and type two diabetes.

Vegetarian diets may be associated with deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, and long chain omega three fatty acids.

Vegetarian diets are associated with lower low density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels compared to a non-vegetarian diet.

Vegetarians have a 24% reduction in mortality from heart disease versus meat eaters and the reduction in cardiovascular mortality is highest in vegetarians who consume fish.

The reduced cardiovascular mortality among vegetarians may be related to the lipid lowering effects of such diets.

Consumption of a vegetarian diet is associated with lower blood pressures and is a useful nonpharmacological means of reducing blood pressure (Yokoyama Y et al).

Compared to omnivores, vegetarians have typically lower BMIs and lower risk of obesity attributable to low energy density of the diet with higher fiber content and lower fat content.

Potassium is abundant in vegetarian diets and potassium supplementation decreases blood pressure.

Vegetarian diet is expected to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer given the lack of or reduced meat including red and processed meat content.

Vegetarian diet associated with reduced incidence of all cancers combined and cancers of the G.I. tract.

A vegetarian diet does not include any meat, poultry, or seafood.

It is made up of foods that come mostly from plants.

These include:



Whole grains




May include eggs and/or milk if ovo-lacto vegetarian.

A vegetarian diet contains no animal proteins.

A semi-vegetarian diet contains little animal protein, but mostly plant-based foods.

Vegetarians also do not eat products containing gelatin or rennin, which is an enzyme used to produce many cheeses.

There are different types of vegetarian diets.

Vegan: Includes only plant-based foods, without animal proteins or animal by-products such as eggs, milk, or honey.

Lacto-vegetarian: Includes plant foods plus some or all dairy products.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Includes plant foods, dairy products, and eggs.

Partial vegetarian: Includes plant foods and may include chicken or fish, dairy products, and eggs, but it does not include red meat.

Pescatarian: Includes plant foods and seafood.

Reduces chance of obesity, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

The diet has fewer calories from fat, and fewer calories, than non-vegetarian diets.

A vegetarian diet may be deficient in B12, as eggs and dairy foods have the most B12.

Seafood such as clams, salmon, and tuna applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians.

Vitamin D may be deficient, with such a diet.

Zinc, important for the immune system and cell growth is not absorbed from plant foods as well as from meat and other animal foods.

Iron is not absorbed from plant foods as well as from the type found in meat and other animal foods.

Diet includes beans and legumes, such as white beans, lentils, and kidney beans, br een vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, kale, and collard greens, dried fruit, such as prunes, raisins, and apricots, whole grains,

foods fortified with iron, such as cereals and breads.

Eating foods that are high in vitamin C at the same meal as iron-rich foods increase iron absorption: Foods high in vitamin C include, tomatoes, potatoes, citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries.

Oxalates, a substance found in plant foods inhibits calcium absorption.

Calcium containing foods; Sardines and canned salmon with bones only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians, dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese, green vegetables, such as collard greens, kale, bok choy, and broccoli, oranges and figs,tofu, almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini, and white beans, foods fortified with calcium, such as cereal, orange juice, and soy, almond and rice milk.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Fatty fish, such as halibut, mackerel, salmon, herring, and sardines but this only applies to pescetarians and semi-vegetarians, nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseed, canola oil, chia seeds, soybeans and soy oil.

Proteins can be gotten from soy nuts, soy milk, and tofu.

Legumes, beans, and lentils.

Nuts, nut butters, seeds, and whole grains.

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

While vegetarians had a 22% lower risk for heart disease, they had a 20% higher risk for stroke in a British study.

Pescatarians who eat fish but no other meats have 13% lower risk of heart disease, with no increased stroke risk.

The lower risk of heart disease is likely at least partly due to lower weight, lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and lower rates of diabetes linked to pescatarian or vegetarian diets.

This is equivalent to 10 fewer cases of heart disease in the vegetarians than the meat eaters in every 1,000 people eating these diets over 10 years.

For stroke, three more strokes would be seen among vegetarians compared with meat eaters over the same time.

Recent evidence suggests that very low cholesterol levels might be linked to a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Data on more than 48,000 men and women, average age 45, with no history of stroke or heart disease.: Among the participants were more than 24,000 meat eaters, about 7,500 pescatarians and more than 16,000 vegetarians and vegans (Tong).

During the 18 years of the study, nearly 3,000 people developed heart disease and more than 1,000 suffered a stroke.

About 500 of the strokes were caused by blood clots in the brain and 300 resulted from bleeding in the brain.

Vegans and strict vegetarians need to be obtain certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from their diet and supplements.

The quality of the calories consumed matters, not necessarily whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or neither. 



A vegetarian diet can indeed be bad for health: The Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study 2, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which include nearly 210,000 men and women and gathered information for 22 years or more.



An overall plant-based diet index (PDI), emphasizes more plants and less animal products.



A healthful plant-based diet index emphasizes healthier plant-based foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and coffee or tea instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.



An  unhealthy plant-based diet which includes unhealthy but plant-based foods like more refined grains, processed foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages.



Those who follow a more strictly plant-based diet, regardless of whether it was healthy or not, and consuming less than 3 or 4 servings of animal-based foods per day, were indeed less likely to experience a heart attack than those who consumed the highest level of animal-based foods per day.



The Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study 2, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study: The difference of about 8% between a more plant-based diet, regardless of whether it was healthy or not, meant a person had only 8% less likelihood  to experience a heart attack than those who ate more animal-based foods.



Individuals with the highest score for a healthy plant-based diet were 25% less likely to experience a heart attack than those with the lowest score for a healthy plant-based diet. 



Those with the highest score for an unhealthy plant-based diet were 32% more likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest unhealthy diet score.



These diets are plant-based, not plant-exclusive.



A Mediterranean-style diet is just as plant-based: over the course of a week it might average 9-10 servings of animal protein, including meat, fish, and poultry, plus a total of 2-3 servings of other animal-based foods dairy items like butter, milk, or cheese.






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