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Pro-Con introduction: Is vegetarian diet better?

March 11, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated March 11, 2012 at 10:12 p.m.


CATEGORIES OF VEGETARIANISM

Vegans - avoid all animal products. No eggs, dairy products, or anything made from animal products.

Fruitarians - eat only fruits, seeds, nuts and other plants.

Lacto-vegetarians - eat dairy products, but no eggs. They may or may not avoid non-dietary use of animal products.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians - eat eggs and dairy products. This is the most common group of vegetarianism.

Pesce-vegetarians - include fish in their diet.

Pollo-vegetarians - eat poultry, no red meat or pork.

Flexitarians - mainly eat vegetables, will occasionally eat meat.

Raw vegan - eat only unprocessed foods, raw foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Macrobiotic vegetarian - unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and occasional consumption of fish. No sugar, or refined oil.

Source: veggievisitors.com; msu.edu; and Phylis Canion



MEATS OR VEGGIES?

Nutritionists and doctors share many philosophies about a nutrition-adequate diet.

But an increasingly popular discussion on the values of a meat-based diet in comparison to one that includes only plants continues to increase.

A vegetarian-based diet includes items such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, oats, rice and nuts. It also may include some dairy, eggs and cheese.

A nutritional meat-inclusive diet may include the same items as a plant-based diet, with the addition of dairy, beef, chicken, fish and eggs.

Government and medical agencies are divided on the issue of vegetarian and meat diets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a diet with lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs.

While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics endorse "appropriately-planned vegetarian diets," that may include total vegetarianism or veganism as nutritionally adequate.

So what is the most appropriate and healthy method of eating? Is a vegetarian diet sufficient, or do humans require meat consumption?

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