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Nutrition: Vegetarian diet. It is healthy?

Vegetarians are generally healthier than non-vegetarians. The incidence of mortality from coronary diseases decreases by 29%, and the values of the body mass index (BMI) are lower among vegetarians than among non-vegetarians. A high-fiber, low-fat vegetarian diet significantly improves glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes. Cancer incidence and mortality from this cause have also been found to be lower. In addition to the dietary factors that can explain these advantages, it is worth highlighting good lifestyle habits in vegetarians: they tend to practice physical activity on a regular basis, are not overweight and consume little tobacco and alcohol.

However, scientifically, it is an unbalanced diet because it lacks some amino acids and essential fatty acids that are only present in foods of animal origin. Likewise, the recommendation is that dairy products and eggs (ovo-lacto-vegetarians) be allowed in the vegetarian diet and are not completely excluded from the diet, as is often the case in vegan diets; a vegan is at risk of having an unbalanced diet lacking in essential vitamins such as Vitamin B12, iron and calcium if they do not receive a specific and complementary supply of these elements.

The principles of a vegetarian diet are framed within a balanced diet: the key concepts are regular and structured meals and food diversification. Although dairy products and eggs make it possible to satisfy the needs for essential amino acids, it is advisable to apply a complementarity of vegetable sources to supply vegetable proteins that provide all the amino acids and the essential amount of essential fatty acids (oleaginous).

The composition of a vegetarian dish or meal ideally includes a set of cereals (and/or starches), legumes and oil products. It is recommended to take a dairy product at each meal. Of course, the vegetarian diet is not recommended for growing children, sick or nutritionally deficient people, or pregnant women.

In case of any doubt or comment, do not hesitate to contact me. I would like to know your opinion…

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