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Potential impacts of vegetarian diet on nutritional adequacy - Essay Example

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Although vegetarian practices appear to vary over a wide spectrum, the term vegetarian, nonetheless, refers to a particular dietary pattern which emphasizes consumption of plant products and avoidance of flesh foods such as meat, poultry, and fish …
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Potential impacts of vegetarian diet on nutritional adequacy
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Download file to see previous pages Although vegetarian practices appear to vary over a wide spectrum, the term vegetarian, nonetheless, refers to a particular dietary pattern which emphasizes consumption of plant products and avoidance of flesh foods such as meat, poultry, and fish Those who include milk and other dairy products, and eggs, in addition to plant foods are called lacto-ovo-vegetarians (Barr and Rideout, 2004). Meanwhile, those who include eggs in their diet but avoid consumption of dairy products, meat, poultry, and fish are classified as ovovegetarians Lactovegetarians, however, consume milk and dairy products excluding eggs and other animal-derived products (Barr and Rideout, 2004). On the other hand, vegetarians whose diet consists solely of plant foods excluding eggs, milk, dairy, and meat products are called vegans. Demi-vegetarians are those that occasionally eat meat while pesco-vegetarian includes fish and other seafood in their diet (Phillips, 2005). Furthermore, the macrobiotic diet consists primarily of brown rice with some fruits and vegetables while the fruitarian-based diet consists primarily of fresh and dried fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables (Phillips, 2005). Since vegetarian diet is classified according to the foods being excluded, it is not always possible to ensure that the nutrients derived from the diet are adequate (Sanders and Reddy, 1994; Meirelles et al., 2001; Barr and Rideout, 2004). ...
Even so, protein intake of vegetarian subjects was noted to be well above the RNI, indicating that protein recommendations for healthy adults, children, and even athletes are met (Sanders and Reddy, 1994; Barr and Rideout, 2004; Dunn-Emke et al., 2005). Even in pregnant women and lactating mothers whose protein requirements increase by 25 g/day compared to nonpregnant, nonlactatating women, plant-based diet is still able to meet the increase in protein demand (Penney and Miller, 2008). This may suggest that in most cases, adequacy of protein consumption from vegetarian diet is not a cause of concern. Plant-based diet can sufficiently supply protein requirements when an assortment of plant foods is consumed to provide all the essential amino acids (ADA, 2009). Fats Total dietary fat intake follows the same pattern as protein intake in vegetarians. In general, consumption of dietary fat was found to be significantly lower in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians but still falls within the range of the RNI (Janelle and Barr, 1995; Huang et al., 1999). Studies also provided evidence that plant-based diet is also rich in n-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid), which are then converted to arachidonic acid (ADA, 2003; Key et al., 2006). However, it has been reported that vegetarian diets are usually low in n-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), which are important for proper brain and visual development (Sanders and Reddy, 1992; Dunham and Kollar, 2006). In fact, it was found that cord plasma and cord artery phospholipid levels of pregnant vegetarian women contained significantly less DHA and docosapentanoic acid (n-6 fatty acid) compared to the non-vegetarian controls (Sanders and Reddy, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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