Vegetarian Diet: Health Benefits Of Vegetarianism

1236 words - 5 pages

Many Americans are eating unhealthy diets in the typical American style characterized by lack of moderation. This average diet is defined by high contents of red meat and other fatty foods. Eating these types of food, and the following factor of being overweight, can lead to heart disease and other health problems. A vegetarian lifestyle, on the other hand, limits the intake of meat and other fatty animal products and is known to confer a wide range of health benefits. However, there are many different types of vegetarianism. First, there is the semi vegetarian, who is someone who simply limits meat intake to some degree, the lacto-ovovegetarian, who cuts out all meat, but not animal products such as cheese and eggs, and then the vegan, who chooses not to eat any animal products or byproducts such as honey or gelatin. Each type of vegetarianism has specific benefits, all of which outweigh the benefits of the average American’s diet. I am going to look primarily at the benefits of the lacto-ovovegetarian lifestyle. By eating this type of diet, Americans can balance out their food intake with more fruits, vegetables, and grains and create a diet that is healthier overall. A typical vegetarian diet closely matches expert dietary recommendations for healthy eating, being low in saturated fat and high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables (VSUK). A more balanced diet leads to a healthier lifestyle and a longer, happier life. Therefore, more Americans should be eating a vegetarian diet, specifically a lacto-ovovegetarian style.

It must be noted that simply changing to a meatless diet will not necessarily create a healthier, happier lifestyle. A vegetarian diet still has unhealthy components that must be avoided such as fats, oils, and sugars. After choosing a vegetarian diet, many find it to be tempting to eat a diet mainly consisting of fatty cheeses and pastas. These types of foods are easier to make or come by, but are not healthy as the base of a diet. Eating mainly cheese and pasta can lead to higher cholesterol and fat intake, as well as leaving a person devoid of important vitamins and minerals. It is true, then, that a meatless diet can not always be considered a healthy one, especially if too high a proportion of high fat dairy products are consumed (Journal).

Many people believe that a vegetarian diet will deprive people of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial and necessary for human life. This is far from true. One weighty argument against vegetarianism, is that this type of diet lacks complete proteins. For the lacto-ovovegetarian this can be solved by eating eggs, which contain complete proteins. Protein deficiency can also be avoided by choosing from many pairings of incomplete proteins in vegetarian foods which, when combined, give all the essential amino acids needed in adequate amounts. Some of these combinations are milk and cereal, peanut butter and bread, beans and rice, beans and corn tortillas,...

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