, Research Paper
Why the Vegetarian Diet is Best
The vegetarian diet is becoming increasingly popular all the time. Is the vegetarian or meat diet better? A
decade ago and earlier, the impression was that a vegetarian diet was lacking in the nutrients found in meat
products. Today though, through research and nutritional science, it has been proven that all the nutrients found
in meat can also be found in the correct vegetarian diet.
Some may argue that by only consuming meat that is low in fat, meat and vegetarian diets have identical
benefits. This is true only if one eats only very low fat meat. The lack of meat is not necessarily the main benefit
of to the vegetarian. Vegetarians tend to eat more fruits, vegetables and grains that the meat eater. They also
tend not to use tobacco and excessive alcohol. In addition, vegetarians tend to get more exercise.
The term vegetarian can be misleading. This diet can take on many different variations. A fruitarian eats only
fruits, seeds and nuts while the vegan eats these and vegetables, grains and legumes. A lacto vegetarian
consumes the same as a vegan as well as dairy products. A lacto-ovo vegetarian follows after the lacto vegetarian
but also includes eggs while the ovo vegetarian excludes dairy products. Finally, the partial vegetarian eats
anything except red meat, or at least strictly limits it. Because the term vegetarian is used to cover all facets and
variations, it is difficult to identify health benefits resulting from the vegetarian diet including all of the above.
Most meat eaters do not realize that there are so many variations to the vegetarian diet, which makes accurate
studies even more difficult.
As a whole though, vegetarians tend to have less body fat than nonvegetarians. This is most likely due to the low
fat and high carbohydrate content of their diet. Vegetarians usually have lower blood pressure than meat eaters
because of lifestyle and diet. Other factors probably include exercise and resistance to smoking and alcohol
intake. Coronary artery disease is directly related to saturated fat intake. In studies testing cholesterol levels,
vegetarians beat out all others including those that only ate lean meats. Milk, however, lowers blood cholesterol,
as does soy. Another benefit is the lack of digestive disorders among vegetarians. It is possible that this is
directly related to the high fiber content consumed. The last main benefit of the vegetarian diet is its relationship
to cancer rate reduction, especially colon cancer. People who develop colon cancer tend to eat more meat, less
fiber, and more saturated fat than those without colon cancer. This is the same case with lymphatic cancer.
The only advantage a meat eater might have over a vegetarian would be during pregnancy and childhood.
Studies have shown that children grow best when they eat meat products. Likewise, vegetarian women may
enter pregnancy too thin and be lacking in stores of nutrients.
Obviously, there are advantages and drawbacks to both diets however I feel the vegetarian diets advantages
greatly outweigh its shortcomings. Whether a meat eater or vegetarian, both diets can contribute to good health
with proper planning.