Vegetarian Diet Essay Center
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are the core of a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet. These foods provide an abundance of health-protective vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that may lower the risk for common chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and obesity.
vegetarian diet essay center
A plant-based diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, peas, lentils and nuts. It's rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who don't eat meat, called vegetarians, generally eat fewer calories and less fat. They also tend to weigh less. And they have a lower risk of heart disease than nonvegetarians do.
Well-planned vegetarian diets, including vegan ones, are nutritionally adequate and appropriate for nearly everyone, including pregnant women and elite athletes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The National Institutes of Health says a varied vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as lower blood pressure.
Cardiologist Neil Stone, medical director of the vascular disease center at Northwestern Medicine's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, said the vegan diet hasn't been conclusively shown to be better than other healthful eating patterns, including the DASH diet and the Mediterranean-style diet. Both emphasize fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds, but they differ in the amount of recommended fats.
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What is the evidence that plant-based eating patterns are healthy? Much nutrition research has examined plant-based eating patterns such as the Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet. The Mediterranean diet has a foundation of plant-based foods; it also includes fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt a few times a week, with meats and sweets less often.
However, it is possible to obtain all the required nutrition from a diet that does not consist of animal or fish flesh. People who abstain from eating animal or fish flesh are known as vegetarians and they practice vegetarianism. On the other hand, people who supplement their vegetable diet with meat products are called meat-eaters. Majority of the human beings on earth are meat-eaters. In the past few decades, there has been a move towards the promotion of vegetarianism.
This move has been prompted by the alleged benefits of a vegetarian diet. This paper will set out to argue that being a vegetarian is more beneficial for the individual and the environment and as such, more people should adopt this practice. To reinforce this claim, the paper will highlight the many advantages attributed to vegetarianism and contrast them with the negative effects of meat eating.
A vegetarian diet offers protection from the numerous public health risks associated with meat eating. Meat consumption exposes a person to many risks due to the diseases and medication offered to animals. Modern food manufacturing undermines the healthiness of meat. Unlike in the past where livestock was reared in a natural manner, farmers today engage in the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and food supplements to their farm animals.
A person can avoid these risks associated with meat consumption by becoming a vegetarian. A vegetarian diet is associated with greater longevity. Studies indicate that a meat-free diet significantly decreases the risk of death leading to longer life for the individual who practices vegetarianism. This relationship between vegetarianism and long life is due to a number of reasons.
Singh and Sabate highlight that a vegetarian diet assists in the maintenance of a healthy weight and this contributes to long life by preventing the person from developing lifestyle diseases that lead to early deaths (265). A vegetarian diet also keeps a person safe from the many toxic components present in meat products. Singh and Sabate warn that animals reared for meat ingest large quantities of commercial feedlot additives (266).
In addition to this, the meat contains saturated fat and consuming this is a risk factor for fatal diseases. Meat eaters are therefore likely to die earlier due to complications caused by their dietary practices. A vegetarian diet can help mitigate the adverse environmental impacts caused by meat eating. Meat consumption in the world has increased exponentially in the last 6 decades.
Animal production has also contributed to the unsustainable use of water resources. Huge water reserves have to be dedicated to animal production leading to the depletion of water resources. In addition to this, animals produce vast amounts of waste and in most cases, this effluent is allowed to leak into the environment thus polluting water reservoirs and degrading the environment. A vegetarian diet would ensure that this negative environmental impacts attributed to animal production are alleviated.
A vegetarian diet can help increase the global food security. At the moment, the food production is able to satisfy the food demands of the human population. However, the high rate of population increase is raising concerns about the ability of the Earth to produce enough food for the entire human population. Because of meat consumption, high pressure is being put on the global food supply (McCarthy 122).
If the current rate of meat-consumption is pursued, the world will not be able to produce enough food for everyone. A vegetarian diet is more sustainable since it does not over-stretch the available land and water resources. In addition to this, vegetarianism will lead to higher cereal production since farm animals will not be fed on cereals that can be used to feed people.
This will promote sustainable production and consumption of food products leading to global food security. A vegetarian diet is more cost-effective than meat eating. A person uses less money to maintain a vegetarian diet than to engage in a meat-based diet. Even through the cost of meat has reduced significantly over the decades, meat is still more expensive than non-meat products.
Fiddes explains that historically, meat has always been the favored food of the wealthy and powerful elites in society (277). Meat therefore acts as a luxury good that human beings are motivated to acquire. While it is true that meat eating is seen as a sign of affluence, a vegetarian diet can also demonstrate affluence. In the western world, the vegetarian diet is mostly practiced by the well-educated and elite members of the society.
This paper set out to argue that a vegetarian diet is preferable to meat eating. The paper began by defining vegetarianism and showing that this practice has gained prominence in the recent years. The paper then highlighted that vegetarianism can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. A vegetarian diet will also contribute to the reduction in the environmental damages caused by meat eating and increase global food security.
In spite of these positive attributes of meat, the evidence presented in this paper suggests that meat eating is detrimental to the well being of the individual and the society. Considering the numerous merits associated with vegetarianism, all development-minded citizens should take steps to adopt a vegetarian diet and encourage the abolishment of the meat-eating culture.
A vegetarian diet consists primarily of plant foods, but may include eggs (called ovo-vegetarian), dairy products (called lacto-vegetarian), or both eggs and dairy products (called lacto-ovo-vegetarian). The vegan diet, as well as a strict vegetarian diet recently coined as a fruitarian, completely exclude meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products (1). There are many variations of these types of diets; some people follow a semivegetarian diet, which excludes red meat but includes small amounts of fish and poultry, and are commonly referred to as pescetarians (1). Whether following a vegetarian or variation diet with small amounts of meat, plant-based diets that include ample fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are associated with helping to reduce risk of chronic diseases by minimizing the intake of saturated fat. Furthermore, the plant-based diet provides the dietary fiber and phytochemicals found only in plant sources (1).
A well-planned and balanced vegetarian diet can provide sufficient amounts of essential nutrients. However, the more restrictive a vegetarian diet is, there can be greater risks for nutrient deficiency. For example, vegans eliminate all animal foods from their diet, and need to plan their meals by consuming a wide variety of nutrient-dense plant source foods. Vegetarians need to ensure that they consume enough of the following nutrients, which have been found to be low in non-meat-based diets (3).
Vegetarian food recommendations have been developed and may serve as helpful tools for planning a healthy vegetarian diet. One example is shown in Table 1 (12). Another example, shown in Appendix 5 of the 2015-2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines is available online at -5/ (13).
The appeal of vegetarian diets for many individuals lies in their potential health benefits. Research has shown that vegetarians have lower morbidity and mortality from a number of degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer (14). However, it has not yet been shown that it is the omission of meat per se that has caused these positive effects, as vegetarian diets often include an overall higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and lower intake of total fat and saturated fat, compared with typical omnivorous diets (15). It has also been difficult to separate the beneficial effects of a vegetarian diet from those effects of commonly related lifestyle differences, such as not smoking, regular physical activity, and moderate alcohol consumption.