Pro And Cons Of Being A Vegetarian (Athlete Or Sedentary)

There are several types of vegetarian diets, however, the lacto-ovo vegetarian is the most common type. This article will concentrate on lacto-ovo-vegetarians, people who do eat dairy products, eggs, and honey, but who do not consume meat, fish and related products.

Benefits

Heart Health

Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium, an essential mineral that stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins and balances water and acidity in the human body. Diets high in this mineral have shown to lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases considerably.

A deficiency in this electrolyte can result in heart arrhythmia, abnormal blood pressure, and a general muscle dysfunction (that also includes the heart).

More Fiber

Dietary fiber includes the parts of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes) the human body can’t absorb or digest. According to a study issued in the Annals of Oncology, every 10g of dietary fiber you ingest is strongly associated with a 5% reduced risk of breast cancer and a 10% lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Moreover, dietary fiber helps reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels, especially soluble fiber, that is found in foods, like – apples, kidney beans, barley, pears, and prunes.

Folate

People who consume more plants usually have a higher intake of vitamin B9 (also known as folate) than omnivorous. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin which plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells as well as it helps the baby’s neural tube develop into her brain and spinal cord.

In addition, consuming foods rich in folate can improve immune system function, particularly in older adults.

Fewer Toxic Chemicals

The EPA estimates that about 95% of the pesticide residue in the typical American diet comes from fish and meat.

Cancer Prevention

They generally consume notable more fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables than non-vegetarians. This may explain why a review of 96 studies at the University of Florence, Italy, concluded that they might benefit from a 15 percent lower risk of developing any type of cancer.

Type 2 Diabetes

This diet is linked with a considerable reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a 2013 study by the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disorder which affects the way the human body metabolizes sugar, the body’s primary source of fuel.

Vitamin B12

You don’t need to supplement with vitamin B12, a vitamin found only in animal products, but those products also include eggs and dairy foods, therefore, most people on this diet get all the B12 they need.

Vitamin B12 benefits your energy level, mood, skin, memory, digestion, and hair. Also, this vitamin protects against heart disease and high blood pressure by lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

Side Effects

Eggsegg

Compared to people eating less than one egg per week, women eating just one egg per day appear to increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus by 77 percent, and men by 58 percent, according to a 2009 Harvard study entitled “Egg Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women.”

Consuming eggs every day can also put you at risk for heart disease by increasing your LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Another 2008 study entitled the “Harvard Physician’s Health Study,” that observed nearly 20,000 physicians for 20 years, established that people consuming just a single egg every day or more had considerably higher total mortality risk.

Lastly, most people who are allergic to eggs (this allergy develops when the body’s immune system overreacts to proteins in the egg) experience – trouble breathing, wheezing, hoarseness, throat tightness, coughing, or diarrhea after consuming eggs.

Dairy

Dairy products, including ice cream, cheese, butter, milk, and yogurt contribute with notable amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics to the diet. Milk is also rich in natural acids which can cause calcium deposits to build up and potentially cause long-term inflammation conditions, such as arthritis.

Furthermore, higher dairy intake has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer since dairy can stimulate the release of IGF-1 and insulin, according to observational studies both within single populations and across countries.

Cow’s milk also contains a sugar called lactose which can be difficult for people to digest (especially for African Americans and Asian Americans), resulting in symptoms, like – cramps, nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Lastly, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend infants below 1 year to consume dairy products due to the high possibility of iron deficiency, since these foods are poor in iron.

Conclusion – Pro And Cons Of Being A Vegetarian

The most important aspect of this diet is the lack of meat, especially if people substitute meat-based foods with more plant-based foods. The cons of this diet result from the consumption of eggs and dairy products.

However, the best diet is a vegan diet, which completely excludes poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and foods which contain these products. For instance, a few studies have concluded that compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets, vegan diets seem to offer additional protection for high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular mortality, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21983060
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24871675
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26853923
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195171
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1638S.full
https://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx
 

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