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Guest medicalnewstoday.com

Risks and considerations

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Guest medicalnewstoday.com

According to the authors of an article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (now the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), carefully planned vegetarian and vegan diets are "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." However, it is important for vegetarians and vegans to ensure that they are eating a balanced and healthful diet that meets all of their nutritional requirements.

For example, plant-based foods do not naturally contain vitamin B-12, which is an essential mineral that supports the nervous system and cardiovascular health. Vegans and vegetarians can get vitamin B-12 from fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals and some types of plant based "milk."

Vegetarians and vegans can also take vitamin B-12 supplements. However, some B-12 supplements can contain animal products, so it is important to check products labels carefully and only purchase from reputable manufacturers.

According to a 2017 study from Switzerland, some vegetarians may not get enough vitamin B-6 and niacin from their diets, while vegans may have a higher risk of zinc and omega-3 deficiency than those who eat some animal products.

A range of multivitamin supplements suitable for vegetarians and vegans are available to purchase from pharmacies, health stores, and online.

As we mentioned above, eating a plant based diet does not guarantee good health. A large 2017 study found that plant based diets consisting of unhealthful foods can increase a person's risk of coronary heart disease.

Examples of unhealthful plant foods include:

French fries
sweetened beverages
refined grains
candies
processed or prepackaged snack foods

This unhealthful plant based eating often results in a lower intake of fiber, vegetables, and micronutrients alongside an increased intake of sugar and processed ingredients.

Summary

Both vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat and fish. However, veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism that prohibits the consumption or use of any products that come from animals, including dairy, eggs, honey, leather goods, wool, and silk.

Vegetarians may eat dairy products, eggs, honey, and other byproducts that do not involve the slaughter of animals. However, there are several variations of the vegetarian diet. For example, some vegetarians choose to eat eggs but not dairy products.

Vegan and vegetarian diets generally include a range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and pulses, as well as "meat substitutes" that derive from these food types.

Both vegetarian and vegan diets may provide health benefits, including reduced body weight, lower cholesterol levels, and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, it is important for vegetarians and vegans to ensure that they are meeting all of their nutritional requirements. For example, plants do not naturally contain vitamin B-12, so vegans and vegetarians may need to consume fortified foods or take dietary supplements to get enough vitamin B-12.

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