The vegetarian diet is one that does offer several advantages depending on the type of diet that is followed. There is the diet that allows for the products of animals such as dairy and honey while the other type avoids it altogether.
Even taking into account both basic types of vegetarian diets, only a fraction of the US population actually follows them. For those who are looking to lose weight or add more nutrition to their diets, going vegetarian may be an answer, but it is really more complicated than that. You will have to be mindful of what you consume and realize that even a vegetarian diet still have complications as well.
The Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet
What is true is that the basic elements of nutrition are the same whether they are found in plant or animal form. This means that the protein found in lean meat is the same as those found in beans or legumes. There are some other advantages as well.
Lose Weight: Following a proper vegetarian diet and reducing the amount of processed sugar should create the right conditions for shedding excess fat.
Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Eating a vegetarian diet has shown in studies to help lower the risk of heart disease. This is because the HDL cholesterol levels are raised while lowering the LDL levels if you consume plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fats.
Dietary Fiber: Legumes and beans contain plenty of good dietary fiber which helps your digestive system. Plus, you will also get plenty of protein when eating beans as well.
Knowing what you Eat: It is well known that long-term vegetarian dieters have fewer hunger cravings and have better control over what they consume.
The Disadvantages of a Vegetarian Diet
While there are considerable benefits, the vegetarian diet is not without its issues. For many, sticking to such a strict diet may be difficult especially in a world full of meat and meat by-products.
Vitamin B12 & Iron Deficiency: One of the biggest issues with the vegetarian diet is the lack of B12 and iron which are very important to your health and energy. While they can be supplemented through the use of daily vitamins, a vegetarian will have to be careful about what they consume. While calcium and Vitamin D are also lacking in many vegetarian diets, there are certain types of foods that can be eaten which will supplement them.
The Focus of the Diet: There are many foods that fit the vegetarian mold and yet are not healthy for you. French fries are vegetarian, yet they contain plenty of unhealthy trans fats which raise your LDL cholesterol levels. So, you need to be very careful about what type of vegetarian foods that you consume on a regular basis.
Overall, the benefits of a vegetarian diet are certainly considerable, but they do not necessarily translate into healthier living unless you can avoid many of the foods that are detrimental to your health. This means that the choice to go vegetarian will have to be made with everything in mind before you switch your diet program.