Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Does not eat meat, poultry, seafood or products made from meat, poultry, or seafood (such as gelatin, broths, gravy, and lard).

Lacto-vegetarian: Does not eat meat, poultry, seafood, or products made from meat, poultry, or seafood (such as gelatin, broths, gravy, and lard).  Also does not eat eggs or products containing eggs (such as many baked goods).

Pescatarian: Eats fish or other seafood but does not eat red meat, white meat, or fowl.

Vegan: Does not eat meat, poultry, seafood, or products made from meat, poultry, or seafood (such as gelatin, broths, gravy, and lard).  Also does not eat eggs or products containing eggs, milk, dairy foods (such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream), ingredients made from milk (such as why and casein), or honey.

Benefits of Vegetarianism
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower incidence of hypertension
  • Lower risk of developing diabetes mellitus type II
  • Lower BMI
  • Lower cancer rates
Potential nutritional concerns

Lower intake of vitamin B12

  • What does B 12 do?  It is a water soluble vitamin required for the proper function and development of the brain, nerves, blood cells, and many other parts of the body.
  • Where does it come from? Animal products including fish, meat, poultry, milk, milk products

Lower intake and absorption of Calcium

  • What does calcium do? Maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions including muscle movement and nerve messaging.  In addition, calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.
  • Where does it come from? Milk, yogurt and cheese are best sources due to the body's availability to absorb it.  Kale and broccoli have it but is less easy to absorb.  You can also find calcium in fortified products including, fruit juices, breakfast cereals, soy products, rice milk and almond milk.
  • Low vitamin D levels
  • What does vitamin D do?  It is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone's main building blocks) from food and supplements.  It carries brain body messages, helps with our immune system.  Low vitamin D levels may be a result of increased use of sun protection, decreased milk consumption and higher BMI.
  • Where does it come from? The sun! (15 minutes/day), swordfish, salmon (not farm raised), fortified milk products, fortified fruit juices.  Nutrition supplements. D3 or D2 supplements.  D2 are consistent with a vegetarian diet requiring no animal products as it's converted from yeast. 
  • Lower intake of zinc
    What does zinc do? It is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system.  The body also needs zinc to make proteins DNA, the in all cells. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.
    Where does it come from? Red meat, poultry, seafood, fortified cereals, beans, nuts, grains and dairy foods.  A vegetarian may need up to 50% more zinc because it's not readily absorbed from plant sources.
  • Lower intake of Iron
  • What does Iron do? Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body also needs iron to make some hormones and connective tissue.
    Where does iron come from?  Lean meat, seafood, and poultry, Iron-fortified breakfast cereals and breads, lentils, spinach and nuts.  The iron found in plant based foods is non heme and is not readily absorbed by the body.  Help your body absorb iron better by eating high iron sources with Vit C containing foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.

Lower intake of iodine

  • What is iodine? Iodine is a mineral found in some foods. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body's metabolism and many other important functions.
  • Where does it come from? Iodine is found naturally in some foods and is also added to salt that is labeled as "iodized". You can get recommended amounts of iodine by eating a variety of foods, including the following: Fish (such as cod and tuna), seaweed, shrimp, and other seafood.  Dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese) and products made from grains (like breads and cereals), which are the major sources of iodine in American diets. Fruits and vegetables, which contain iodine, although the amount depends on the iodine in the soil where they grew and in any fertilizer that was used. Iodized salt, which is readily available in the United States and many other countries. Processed foods, however, such as canned soups, almost never contain iodized salt. Specialty salts, popular today such as sea salt, grey salt, etc do not contain iodine.

If you choose vegetarianism, be smart about it

  1. Eat a variety of foods.
  2. Include adequate protein in the form of beans, peas, soy, nuts and nut butters.  Include dairy if you can.
  3. Add a multivitamin/mineral nutrition supplement if you need to.  Choose one with calcium and if you are a woman, one with added iron. 
  4. Include heart healthy oils such as olive, flaxseed, canola oils and margarine.


Source:Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Institute of Health