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    Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

    Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

    If you've considered adopting a vegetarian diet, there's a lot of clinical evidence to support your decision to do so. In other words, there are many benefits of a vegetarian diet. A review of clinical journals reveals that there have been, and continue to be, many positive results concerning the effects on long-term health when eating this way.

    For example, studies show that over a five-year period, those who eat meat gain more weight than non-meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have lower cholesterol than non-vegetarians. One of the benefits of a vegetarian diet is that it's typically lower in saturated fat and animal protein, and higher in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins C and E. Several published reports show that vegetarians also have a lower risk of obesity, hypertension, and of developing diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

    Keep in mind that being vegetarian does'’t mean living on French fries and bananas. Calories still count in a vegetarian diet and if you consume too many calories, you'll likely gain weight. A healthy vegetarian diet consists of high-fiber, whole-grain foods, and lots of fruits and vegetables.

    In place of meat, a lot of vegetarians use soy-based products like tofu or tempeh, which can be made to taste a lot like meat.

    There are several vegetarian diets:

    • Vegans eat no animal products at all: no dairy, no eggs, nothing that comes from an animal.
    • Lacto-vegetarians also eat dairy products, like cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt.
    • Lacto-ovo vegetarians also eat eggs.
    • Flexitarians eat mostly a vegetarian diet but sometimes eat meat in small quantities.

    According to a position paper by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2009, vegetarian diets "are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." In addition, several studies have examined vegetarian diets in conjunction with the rate of certain diseases, like heart disease or certain cancers. Overall, improved health is one of the major benefits of a vegetarian diet.

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