A skeptical look at popular diets: Vegetarian is healthy if you tread carefully

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A skeptical look at popular diets: Vegetarian is healthy if you tread carefully - Stanford

A vegetarian or plant-based diet eliminates meat and meat products.

There are several variations depending on whether additional animal products are consumed; ranging from vegan (avoidance of all animal products) to flexitarian (meat or fish occasionally consumed). With these exceptions, all other food sources are permissible. Many vegetarians restrict their diets beyond a health rationale for ethical (animal cruelty) and environmental reasons (to reduce the resources consumed and pollution produced). In general, most people’s diets could be improved by moving in the direction of less meat intake.

Health rationale slogan: By cutting out meat, you avoid an unhealthy food.

Analysis: Numerous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is one of the most effective for maintaining health. Plant-based diets are healthier than diets where meat is consumed, whether measured by the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, or death. These benefits are likely because of both the avoidance of meat and the predominance of dietary vegetables and fruits. Lack of all animal foods does create a potential risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, so supplementing for this micronutrient may be necessary. In contrast, despite a common misperception, meat consumption is not necessary to obtain a sufficient intake of protein.
 
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