The vegetarian diet is a diet that excludes proteins of animal origin from the diet for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. Although there are several variants of vegetarianism, meat, fish, seafood, and eggs are often banned in favor of vegetable proteins such as soy, legumes, or even cereals.
Features of the vegetarian diet:
- Rich in fiber and micro nutrients
- Importance of food combinations
- Protector against overweight and cardiovascular disease
- Different variants exist
- Rich in culinary discoveries and nutrients
The main principles of the regime
The vegetarian diet has been practiced for thousands of years, it was first called the “vegetable diet” or “xerophagia”. Several ancient Greek philosophers were vegetarians. Because of his writings on the subject, Pythagoras is also considered the father of vegetarianism. People who excluded meat from their diet have long been called “Pythagoreans”. Over the ages, many other famous thinkers (such as Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, and Albert Einstein) adopted vegetarianism. More recently, Brigitte Bardot, Aymeric Caron, Moby, Yoko Ono, and Paul McCartney are the ones who publicly defend vegetarianism in their positions and events.
How does the vegetarian diet work?
Different reasons can lead to adopt the vegetarian diet, we find in particular:
- Prevention of certain diseases (cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, osteoporosis, infections, constipation, cancer)
- Interest in animal welfare
- The protection of the environment
- Respect for religious precepts, in certain cases
In all cases, the vegetarian diet consists of banishing animal flesh in favor of vegetable proteins.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian diet: what are the differences?
There are diets close to the vegetarian diet which have their specificities:
- The lacto-vegetarian diet, which consists of consuming dairy products but not eggs
- The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet that allows you to consume dairy products and eggs, but no meat or fish
- The pesco-vegetarian diet, which consists of consuming fish, dairy products, and eggs but no meat
- The flexitarian diet, which consists of reducing your meat consumption most of the time
- The vegan diet, which excludes all foods of animal origin (including dairy products, eggs and honey)
Should you follow a vegetarian diet to lose weight?
It is proven that people following a vegetarian diet have a lower than average BMI, this is supported by the fact that adopting a restrictive diet such as vegetarianism leads to better balanced food intake and to consume less food. from the food industry.
In addition, the vegetarian diet, excluding meat, participates in the fight against cardiovascular diseases mainly caused by saturated fatty acids found in meat. Vegetarians generally have lower cholesterol levels than the omnivorous population due to this lack of fatty meat in their diet. If properly practiced, the vegetarian diet is rich in fibers provided in particular by vegetables and whole grains, it thus helps to fight against constipation, diabetes and transit disorders.
It would also reduce the risk of prostate and colon cancer, thanks to an abundance of fruits and vegetables, a low fat intake and the absence of smoked meats, charred, or containing nitrites. Finally, the absence of meat would almost completely eliminate the risk of contracting infections related to bacteria or viruses present in it (H. pylori, Campylobacter, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, etc.). Salmonellosis, on the other hand, could still be contracted from eating eggs.
How long does the vegetarian slimming diet last?
The vegetarian diet is one of the ways of life that is often adopted throughout life. Whatever the reasons (ecological, ethical, health, etc.), it is therefore a diet that has no limited duration.
Authorized and prohibited foods
The vegetarian diet includes all food categories except meat and fish, so we find starchy foods and cereals, fruits and vegetables, dairy products and eggs, fats, legumes and sweet products. .
Diet program and menu for a balanced vegetarian diet
Wholemeal bread Vegetable margarine or butter Orange
jam Milk Coffee
Coral lentil curry with coconut milk
|Having dinner||1/2 avocado with spices|
omelet Roasted peppers Plain
Advantages and disadvantages
The positive points of the vegetarian diet
- Prevention of cardiovascular pathologies
- Good fiber intake
- Significant feeling of fullness
- Great dietary diversity
- Maintain a healthy weight more easily
- Rich in culinary discoveries
The negative points of the vegetarian slimming diet
- Poor Omega-6 / Omega-3 ratio
- Risk of iron deficiency if the diet is poorly conducted
- Requires cooking
Recommendations and precautions to be taken
Are there risks of deficiencies with the vegetarian diet?
It is sometimes mistakenly believed that vegetarians lack protein. The well-balanced vegetarian diet meets all your needs. Vegetarians get protein from milk and dairy products, eggs, legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, and grain products. Proteins from the plant kingdom are not complete in themselves, but they become complete by making certain food combinations. We can, for example, accompany lentils with rice. It is not necessary to supplement its proteins, with each meal. You can eat cereals for breakfast and legumes for the evening meal so that the body can reconstitute complete proteins.
On the other hand, in a vegetarian diet, it is not uncommon to find nuts, seeds and vegetable oils: the intake of omega-6 fatty acids may therefore be too high compared to omega-3 fatty acids. In this case, it is preferable to reduce the oils rich in omega-6 – sunflower, soybean, wheat germ, corn, grape seeds – and to favor sources of omega-3: seeds and linseed oils, linseed oil rapeseed, hemp seeds and oil, chia seeds, marine microalgae.
Finally, with frequent consumption of legumes and green vegetables, vegetarianism does not carry any risk of iron deficiency. On the other hand, if these foods are forgotten in the menus, it can lead to a situation of anemia leading to drug supplementation.
Is this a diet for you?
Vegetarianism can be a good solution for you if you want to adopt a lifestyle that respects the environment, animal welfare and your own health. Do not hesitate to be accompanied in the first months of your new diet to fully understand the issues and food combinations to make for a balanced vegetarian diet.
Can the vegetarian diet be followed by the athlete (bodybuilding)?
Absolutely, as we have just seen, the balanced vegetarian diet provides the body with enough protein and micro-nutrients. It is therefore completely compatible with regular physical activity of varying intensity.
How not to gain weight?
Even though the average BMI of vegetarians is lower than that of other people, this diet is not intended to lose weight. There is therefore no reason to gain weight afterward. In addition, vegetarianism is part of the lifestyles generally adopted in the very long term, it is not of limited duration.
What is the vegetarian scarsdale diet?
The scarsdale method consists of a very low calorie and low carbohydrate diet that would lose up to 9 kilos in 14 days. There is a variant compatible with the vegetarian diet. However, due to its very restrictive nature, it is not a recommendable weight loss method.
Some figures to go further
In France, more than 30% of individuals define themselves as flexitarians. This trend can be seen all the more among wealthy people over the age of 50. However, among those under 35 years of age, reducing meat consumption is increasingly common. Similarly, 50% of individuals would like to increase their consumption of plant products.
Less than 3% of French people are strict vegetarians, and less than 2% are vegan.
Opinion of the dietician on vegetarianism
Vegetarian diets are becoming more and more popular because of their health benefits and the growing interest in preserving our environment. It is a balanced diet and perfectly suited to any age in life, subject to composing your plate in a reasoned way by providing proteins at each meal (legumes, dairy products, or eggs) and vegetable fats rich in omega fatty acids. 3 (rapeseed, flax, hemp …).