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Vegetarian diet: advice on making it balanced

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Vegetarian Diet | 0 comments

  1. What is it?
  2. How to start?
  3. The pros and cons
  4. Replacements
  5. Pregnancy
  6. When is a supplement needed?
  7. Can it cause celiac disease?

The vegetarian diet excludes all types of meat and products resulting from the industrial processing of meat.

But what to eat if you are vegetarian and how to have a balanced diet? More and more people choose to become vegetarians, but there is still confusion and misinformation around the topic.

Vegetarian diet: what it is?

The vegetarian diet thus excludes the consumption of all types of meat:

  • pigs
  • cattle
  • sheep
  • poultry
  • fish and aquatic mammals
  • shellfish
  • crustaceans, etc.

The vegetarian diet also excludes all products resulting from industrial processing of meat, such as:

  • sausage
  • pâté
  • sushi.

The vegetarian diet models

In vegetarian nutrition, it is possible to refer to two main models, which are also the most widely used and studied in the literature.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian model (LOV)

This diet excludes all types of meat and includes:

  • milk and milk products (cheese and dairy products)
  • eggs
  • honey
  • wide variety of foods of plant origin

This model also includes the variants of the lactate-vegetarian Diet (LV), which is identical to the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet but excludes eggs, and of the ovo-vegetarian Diet (OV). Similar to the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, except for milk and dairy products.

Vegan model (VEG)

The vegan diet excludes:

  • all kinds of meat
  • milk and milk products (cheese and dairy products)
  • eggs
  • honey

Instead, it plans to consume a wide variety of plant foods.

Also read about:

Difference between vegan and vegetarian: some clarity

Vegetarian semi-diet

Semivetarianism is a diet in which occasionally meat and/or other animal foods are consumed. Fish consumption is expected, but not other types of meat.

This article will focus on the diet lacto-ovo-vegetarian (LOV). Which YouWillFit proposes to those who want to regain shape because they present the least risks of nutritional deficiencies are well balanced.

Vegetarian diet: how to start?

Suppose you decide to go on a vegetarian diet. In that case, it is not important to gradually reduce meat and fish consumption.

The change in diet can radically take place without causing immediate repercussions. A vegetarian diet does not entail nutritional deficiencies in the short term, mainly if we talk about a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet.

However, the risks can occur in the long term if insufficient attention is paid to food replacements.

The pros and cons

The pros of a vegetarian diet are low in animal fats, low cardiovascular risk, and rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. If you choose fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Indeed, these nutrients are crucial to counteract the action of free radicals and combat cell aging.

Fiber is also abundant, helping to keep your bowel healthy intact and feel more satiated.

On the other hand, the effects of a vegetarian diet are represented by the risk of some nutritional deficiency and the appearance of gastrointestinal disorders (swelling, irritable bowel syndrome) related to the attempt to compensate for any deficit.

Having eliminated meat and fish, you must increase the servings of foods that contain:

  • protein
  • calcium
  • iron.

Are you afraid of getting fat? The answer is no because calcium, iron, and B vitamins do not provide calories. An individual’s protein requirement must be met in every dietary scheme, so it should not change from Diet to Diet. In any case, the protein provides a slightly lower amount of calories than sugar and half of the fat.

Vegetarian diet: replacements

The precautions you must take are protein, vitamins, especially vitamin B12. Which is present only in foods of animal origin and some minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium.

If you’re on a vegetarian diet, make sure you have plenty of healthy protein, which you can find:

  • soy
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • legumes (peas, beans, chicks, and lentils),
  • cereals
  • mushrooms.

Moreover, vegetables such as spinach and green radicals, sources of iron, and then milk, eggs, and cheese, sources of vitamin B12, calcium, zinc, and selenium cannot be lacking.

Iron is also found in strawberries, cabbages, and cauliflowers, legumes, chicory, nuts, parsley. Due to its high vitamin C content, the citrus fruit and the kiwi fruit make this mineral more bioavailable when combined with the food containing it.

It is more difficult to replace the fish’s omega 3: they are abundantly found in nuts, the calorie content is, however, significantly too high to ensure a proper intake of these nutrients without risking weight gain.

It is important to keep in mind that a vegetarian diet is often wrong.

To compensate for the nutrients of meat and fish by looking for the corresponding food components in plant products.

Cereals and legumes: a nutritionally perfect combination

Cereals and legumes have a synergistic effect when consumed together. In fact, plant proteins versus animal proteins lack certain essential amino acids.

These are responsible for many fundamental functions of the organism. Our body cannot produce them on its own, but it must provide them through food.

For example, legumes do not contain methionine amino acid, which is found in cereals. But cereals are deficient in another amino acid, lysine, which is present in legumes.

For this reason, the combination of legumes and cereals makes it possible to ensure the full spectrum of amino acids needed to stay healthy.

Soy and tofu: vegetable protein against cholesterol

Soya and its derivatives, such as tofu, make it possible to meet the protein requirement and bring many health benefits.

In fact, soya and not containing saturated fats, like most foods of plant origin, are also rich in lecithin, which has an effective cholesterol action.

Due to its phytoestrogen content, which competes with estrogen reduce hormonal stimulation, it also has a preventive action against the appearance of female cancers:

  • ovaries
  • endometriosis
  • breasts.

Also, soya and is helpful in menopausal women because it relieves their symptoms.

Vegetarian Diet and Pregnancy

Suppose you choose to go on a vegetarian diet. In that case, there are cases in which you have to pay special attention: for instance, in pregnancy.

Following a vegetarian diet in pregnancy is absolutely possible. However, it is important to inform your doctor and consider that the calorie requirement of a pregnant woman gradually increases as the pregnancy continues.

When supplements are needed

Supplementation is recommended in pregnancy and lactation to cover the increased need for vitamin B12 and folate. A vegetarian diet, however balanced, may not satisfy. This would be a danger to the baby’s health, increasing the risk of malformations to the nervous system.

Generally speaking, a vegetarian diet should have regular blood tests to check whether the values are typical.

The risk of deficiency, especially vitamin B12, is reduced because this vitamin is present in milk and dairy products and eggs.

However, if tests show a deficiency, your doctor may recommend taking supplements, which should be combined with the consumption of fortified biotic drinks of B12, such as milk of:

  • coconut
  • rice
  • almonds
  • oats.

If you’re interested in exploring this further, read our article on the benefits of vitamin B12 and the foods in which you can find it.

Vegetarian diet: can you trigger celiac disease?

A frequent concern is the risk that too much consumption of certain foods, rich in gluten, present in a vegetarian diet may cause intolerance. Among the defendants is, for example, Seitan.

“The misconception arises from the fact that Seitan is a wheat gluten derivative, so it has a higher gluten content than any other food.

In those who have a predisposition to celiac disease or have celiac disease that had not previously occurred, gluten intake in large quantities can actually lead to a clinical manifestation of the disease.

On the contrary, those who do not have a predisposition to celiac disease run no risk of having their chance of becoming celiac increased. If they consume large quantities of Seitan.

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