Nutrition eggs and milk

Published on October 3rd, 2013 | by Joe Starks

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Eat That! The Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet

For some of us diets aren’t just about losing weight or gaining muscle. Quite a few people choose to follow a specific diet to change their whole lifestyle, either for moral or health reasons. One of the most prominent lifestyle diets is the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. It is the most common type of vegetarianism on the planet and arguably the healthiest one. People engage in lacto-ovo vegetarianism for various reasons. What are really the benefits behind this lifestyle choice? What is this type of diet all about and how healthy is it for you? Let’s answer these questions one by one.

What is Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism?

The basic rule of lacto-ovo vegetarianism is that any sort of animal flesh is taken out of one’s diet. This means that no meat, fish, sea food and any processed foods made with any of the above is part of the diet. Since meat is an amazing source of protein and plenty of minerals, some dieticians question the healthiness of this diet. What makes this diet differ from typical vegetarianism or vegaanism, is that you are allowed to eat animal products that do not kill the animal when you harvest them, like eggs, honey and milk. The lacto-ovo vegetarianism does not tell you exactly what you should eat; only what you should not. This of course makes it hard to judge how healthy this diet really is, since someone can be a L-O Vegetarian by eating only candy bars, while another eats fruits and veg.

What are the benefits of Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism?

There are plenty of benefits if someone chooses to follow a balanced lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. Some of the most important one are:

  • Fewer calories in meals. Taking the meat out of most meals usually will lessen your overall calorie intake, unless you go heavy on the fats.
  • Greater satiation. Meals with more fibre and less variety of food groups in them will make you get bored faster with the food and eat less.
  • Many of the most calorific savoury meals include meat, including the most popular take-away choices. Being L-O Vegetarian will lessen you take-away meals greatly and with that those mystery super-calories.
  • Eating lots of vegetables and lentils is very good for your bowel health and has been known to lessen the chance of getting colon cancer.
  • Eating no meat can do wonders for your cholesterol levels, since meat often has lots of saturated fat in it.
  • You avoid all diseases one could get from badly cooked or spoiled meat. You still get all diseases you can get from plants though.
  • Your diet can be absolutely balanced and healthy. In comparison to pure Vegetarianism or Veganism, L-O Vegetarianism can cover all the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients you body needs, because eggs and milk offer you that vitamin B12 you’d otherwise completely miss. You can also get all amino-acids from meals that include milk and eggs.

Downsides of the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian diet

Like all lifestyle choices, there are some drawbacks when you restrict your diet to a certain pattern. Some of these are:

  • If you really like meat, you will feel restricted by this diet and many of your favourite meals will become a matter of the past. This can even lead to mild dysthymia or depression for people who rely on food for happiness.
  • If it is hard to eat balanced without meat restriction, it is twice as hard to do with it. You need to plan your meals even more, so that you are certain that you are not protein deficient etc.
  • You will sometimes seem unsocial when your meat-loving friends offer you foods you can’t eat, or if they are eating meat all around you in a restaurant where the only vegetarian option is a side salad.

Being a lacto-ovo vegetarian for life is a choice one should not take lightly. It is harder than just eating balanced in an all inclusive diet. For many who have chosen this lifestyle it has proven to be worth it, as it can help you lose weight and get a healthier bowel, if done correctly.

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