In general, vegetarian diets are lower in saturated fats, cholesterol and animal protein, and higher in fiber and folate than non-vegetarian diets. Consequently, vegetarians tend to have substantially reduced risks for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer – particularly lung cancer and colon cancer. In western countries, vegetarians often live longer, on average, than non-vegetarians.
To compare a vegetarian diet with a non-vegetarian diet is not an easy thing to do and it has been going on for centuries now. Both diets have their advantages and their inadequacies. Let’s take a closer look:
Vegetarian diet comprises only of plant food and dairy products.
- Vegetarians do consume lesser proteins, but they do not suffer from the disadvantages of a high protein diet, such as kidney failure and osteoporosis. Also, there are a variety of protein-rich food items that vegetarians can consume today, such as soy, hemp, etc.
- Antioxidants found in vitamin E, vitamin C and carotene are available in fruits and vegetables in higher concentrations.
- Vegetarians consume less saturated fats.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, which is only available in eggs, meat, and fish.
- Lack of protein in their diet is still commonplace.
Non-vegetarian diet contains both plant food and animal products.
- Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are present, the best sources of which are milk, eggs, fish and meat.
- There should be no issues when it comes to consuming enough proteins.
- Omega 3 fatty acids, found in sardines, mackerel and herring, keep the heart and blood healthy.
Meat products are loaded with saturated fats, which increase the risk of heart disease.
Well, vegetarian or not, a healthy diet should be low in cholesterol and saturated fat and based around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Eliminating meat does not automatically make for a healthy diet.