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Vegetarianism

Related Terms

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Background

  • Vegetarianism is a dietary practice characterized by the consumption of only vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains and pulses, and excluding the consumption of all body parts of any animal and products derived from animal carcasses (such as lard, tallow, gelatin, cochineal), from one's diet.
  • The American Dietetic Association states that a well-planned vegetarian diet can be consistent with good nutritional intake. Dietary recommendations vary with the type of vegetarian diet. For children and adolescents these diets require special planning since it may be difficult to obtain all the nutrients required for growth and development. Nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian's diet are protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, and iron.
  • Flexitarianism (occasional vegetarianism): Flexitarians adhere to a diet that is mostly vegetarian but occasionally consume meat. Some, for instance, may regard the suffering of animals in factory farm conditions as their sole reason for avoiding meat or meat-based foods and will eat meat or meat products from animals raised under more humane conditions or hunted in the wild.
  • Fruitarianism: Fruitarianism is a nutrition system and a lifestyle. The diet consists of only raw fruit and seeds and other plant matter that can be gathered without harming the plant. These fruits include pineapple, mango, banana, avocado, apple, melon, orange, all kinds of berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, nuts, hazelnuts, cashews and chestnuts. Some fruitarians eat only plant matter that has already fallen off the plant. Thus, a fruitarian will eat beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and the like, but will refuse to eat potatoes or spinach. Fruitarians may be motivated by the religious faith of the Old Testament dating back to the diet of Adam and Eve.
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History

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.