Latest News » Study contrasts nutritional profiles of vegetarians and meat-eaters

Whatever your diet, make sure you get the nutrients you need

Vegetarianism and veganism, both once seen as relatively fringe diets, have become increasingly widespread as the general population learns more about the benefits of each. However, embracing either of these somewhat restrictive regimens can prove challenging, at least initially, as new adopters must find new sources for certain vitamins and minerals that are primarily derived from animal products.

Recently, researchers from Loma Linda University in California have unveiled certain advantages to a vegetarian diet with regard to weight management and chronic illness. The study was published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, included data from 71,751 male participants with an average age of 51 between 2002 and 2007. The scientists analyzed dietary aspects and health-related attributes including caloric intake, body mass index (BMI) and other factors.

“Nonvegetarians had the lowest intakes of plant proteins, fiber, beta carotene, and magnesium compared with those following vegetarian dietary patterns, and the highest intakes of saturated, trans, arachidonic, and docosahexaenoic fatty acids,” a study abstract states.

In addition to meat-eaters and strict vegetarians, the study also included variants such as semi-vegetarian (who occasionally eat meat), pesco vegetarian (who eat fish) and lacto-ovo vegetarians (who eat dairy). Ultimately, they found that participants consumed a comparable amount of daily calories regardless of diet, but non-vegetarians report higher BMI results.

Whatever diet you choose, it’s important to ensure that you have consistent access to the vitamins and minerals your body needs to promote brain health and general well-being. In some cases, dietary supplements may help you make up for various lapses, though it is advisable to consult a licensed nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your eating habits.

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