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People choose to follow a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons: concern about the environment, animal welfare, health concerns, religious views and many more. Vegetarians typically don’t eat meat, poultry, fish or shellfish. However, different types of vegetarian diets exist:

Lacto-ovo vegetarians – eat dairy foods and eggs but not meat, poultry or seafood.

Ovo-vegetarians include eggs but avoid all other animal foods, including dairy.

Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy foods but exclude eggs, meat, poultry and seafood.

Vegans don’t eat any animal products at all, including honey.

Slight variations in these diets include pescetarians who include fish and/ or shellfish, while semi-vegetarians (or flexitarians) occasionally eat meat or poultry.

 

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be healthy and nutritious and have been associated with several health benefits. Careful planning is essential though, especially for certain types of vegetarianism as there is a risk of important nutrient and vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.

Additionally, careful planning is necessary in different phases of life such as during pregnancy and lactation, or in case of an athlete’s increased nutrient requirements.

 

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