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Vegetarianism Essay

3350 words - 13 pages

Vegetarianism

As Americans become increasingly more health conscious, vegetarian diets are becoming more and more common. Produce-aisle signs stating eat 5 a day for better health are beginning to pay off, along with the USDA-DHHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which state: Many American diets have too many calories and too much fat (especially saturated fat), cholesterol,and sodium. They also have too little complex carbohydrates and fiber. Such diets are one cause of America’s high rates of obesity and of certain diseases-heart disease, high blood pressure,stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer http://www.childsecure.com/veggie.htm

Different types of vegetarians include the vegan, who follows a strict diet excluding eggs, dairy,and all other animal products; the lacto-ovo-vegetarian, who eats a diet of mainly grains,vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products, and eggs, and excludes meat, fish, and poultry; the lacto-vegetarian, who excludes animal flesh and eggs; the ovo-vegetarian, who excludes animal flesh and dairy products; and the semi-vegetarian, who abstains from only red meat and poultry http://www.penpages.psu.edu/penpages_reference/12101/121012505.html.

Vegetarian diets have many health benefits, but can also lead to health detriments if proper precautions are not taken. Optimal health, however, can be reached through a carefully planned vegetarian diet.

Health benefits of plant food

The American Dietetic Association has taken the position that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention of certain diseases http://www.penpages.psu.edu/penpages_reference/12101/121012505.html. . Quite a bit of

research has been done to back up this statement. Registered dietitian Johanna Dwyer, of Tufts University Medical School and the New England Medical Center Hospital, summarizes the benefits of plant food: Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity,atonic(reduced muscle tone) constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones are lower. Data are only fair to poor that risks of breast cancer, diverticular disease of the colon, colonic cancer,calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, dental erosion and dental caries are lower
http://www.childsecure.com/veggie.htm. Dywer says that the life span of vegetarians to
non-vegetarians is similar to or slightly higher, but is influenced in the United States by “adoption of many healthy lifestyle habits in addition to diet, such as not smoking, abstinence or moderation in the use of alcohol, being physically active, resting adequately, seeking ongoing health surveillance, and seeking guidance when health problems arise
http://www.penpages.psu.edu/penpages_reference/12101/121012505.html. .

Experimental studies also support such theories based on the...

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