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Vegetarian Diets
Although I am not a vegetarian, I have family members and friends whom are vegetarians and vegans. They have educated themselves on proper nutrition for vegetarian/vegan diets, which is a must when cutting meats from your caloric intake. Here are two articals in the pros and cons of Vegetarian diets.

Nutritional pros and cons of Meat-based and Vegetarian Diets      
Most individuals who have switched to a vegetarian lifestyle at some point in their lives (who weren't
born into it), have done so following some form of perceived enlightenment, or after the realization that
consuming animal products is either anti-religious, anti-earth (to save the planet), against animal rights,
or that it is simply unhealthy.  I have been testing and treating a large number of vegetarian patients over
more than two decades, so I'm presenting arguments for and against the consumption of animal-based
products from a
health-point of view.

Contrary to vegan-based reviews or commentaries, people following a strict vegetarian diet are not
healthier than their omnivorous counterparts.  In fact, on average, they suffer from as many, or more
medical complaints as compared to non-vegetarian individuals, who include meat or eggs in their diet.

There is absolutely no question that the average person does best health-wise by consuming a mixed
diet that is as fresh, and hopefully as unprocessed as possible.  Beyond that, an individual assessment
is required to provide the necessary information to help make a decision of whether one's diet should
be adjusted with greater emphasis toward 1) specific food groups, 2) a change in the percentage of
the carb, protein or fat content of a meal, or 3) toward a more vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet, -
for a more optimal approach to health.  Mineral ratios (high potassium / low sodium, high calcium / low
phosphorus...) of certain foods or beverages also deserve some attention as they can have a favorable
or unfavorable effect on someone's health problems.

Kidney and liver chemistry are the chief resources to base the decision on of whether a patient would
benefit more from an omnivorous, or vegetarian lifestyle.  Individuals who predominately exhibit lower
levels of protein, phosphorus, sodium, iron and/or manganese, and higher levels of potassium and/or
zinc are certainly candidates for diets with a greater emphasis on meat, while those with a tendency for
higher levels of the above (protein, phosphorus, sodium, iron and manganese), and lower levels of zinc
and potassium are better candidates to adopt vegetarianism, and they should reduce or avoid animal-
based food sources as much as possible.

With some medical problems (i.e. renal failure), a vegetarian-based diet becomes almost mandatory,
but even then certain types of vegetables, i.e. those that are oxalic acid-rich, would have to be avoided.
On the other hand, patients exhibiting very high levels of cellular potassium and/or zinc, and as such are
at a greater risk for developing chronic genitourinary conditions, including ovarian / testicular cancer,
should avoid strict vegan-types of diets that tend to promote much higher cellular levels of both of these
elements. (see also Acu-Cell Nutrition "Zinc & Potassium

There are only animal, but no vegetarian sources of Vitamin B12, which is why herbivores (i.e. rabbits)
meet their Vitamin B12 requirements by eating plants that are infested with insects, or by eating their
own feces, while in ruminants (sheep, cows), the microbes fermenting and digesting plant material in the
rumen (the first stomach) incorporate cobalt into Vit B12, which is subsequently absorbed and utilized.
(see also Acu-Cell Nutrition "Nickel & Cobalt").

Vitamin B12 liver stores in adults may last for several years before becoming depleted as a result of
switching to a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, however Vitamin B12 deficiency in vegetarian children is
much more serious since symptoms do not always become obvious or acute until some damage has
resulted.  So while it is recommended to supplement extra amounts of Vitamin B12 with vegetarian
adults, it is mandatory with vegetarian children!
Because of improved sanitation, this is much more important in Western societies, since in lesser
developed parts of the world, insect or feces-contaminated fruits or vegetables have generally been
sources of Vitamin B12 for those growing up in a predominantly vegetarian environment or culture.

It may also be advisable to supplement a very small amount (DRI/RDA) of the active form of Vitamin B6
(pyridoxal-5-phosphate), since vegetarian sources of Vit B6 only supply the inactive form (pyridoxine),
which will have to be converted to the active form by the liver, however the efficiency of the liver to do so
may be compromised with certain types of liver diseases.  Ideally, when supplementing Vitamin B6 as
pyridoxine, a brand should be purchased that automatically supplies a small percentage of Vitamin B6
as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or P5P.  Both, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 (along with folic acid and others)
are also able to lower homocysteine levels which tend to be on the high side with many vegetarians, so
these vitamins will have a favorably affect on a vegetarian's cardiovascular system also. (see also Acu-
Cell Nutrition "B-Complex Vitamins").

The decision to supplement additional iron (particularly with vegetarian women), or protein may have
to be made based on actual lab tests, whereby low protein and/or iron frequently - but not always - may
also suggest low sodium levels.  Using normal amounts of table salt generally resolves that situation in
the average individual, however in low aldosterone types, where using salt alone won't bring up sodium
levels, supplementing choline or even licorice may have to be considered.
When iron levels test below normal, then manganese supplementation is frequently indicated as well,
being the associated mineral of iron, which may help with low blood sugar / hypoglycemic symptoms,
or low estrogenic-types of PMS.  This tends to develop when high potassium intake - being more
prevalent with vegetarianism - gradually depletes manganese levels in the body.

Why do vegetarian diets worsen cholesterol or triglyceride profiles in some people?

A high potassium / manganese ratio is generally also responsible for total cholesterol levels to rise
following the switch to a vegetarian lifestyle, while lower sodium can be the cause for the LDL fraction
to go up.  Likewise, a rise in zinc is common when switching to vegetarianism, being partly supported
by a decrease in iron (high zinc / iron ratio), which may result in raised total triglyceride levels.
At the same time, lower protein and/or phosphates would be the cause for VLDL triglyceride fractions
to go up - which of course can also happen following an increase in the intake of calcium and simple
carbohydrates (sugar, honey, sweet fruits).

One of the misconceptions perpetuated by some sources is that eating meat promotes cardiovascular
disease, while vegetarian diets prevent it.  We all know that the body cannot exist without cholesterol,
and that dietary cholesterol has little or no effect on serum cholesterol, so that leaves oxidation of fat and
simple sugars (once converted in the liver) as contributing factors with atherosclerosis.  However, this
effect is
not meat, nor vegan / vegetarian-specific, and neither are antioxidants, which can be animal
and/or vegetarian-based.

I have patients, who as a result of following a strict vegetarian lifestyle enjoy optimal health, and I have
patients who, as a result of eating mostly meat, enjoy optimal health as well.  The secret is not the type
of diet itself, but frequently the avoidance of what is generally conceived as being junk food - which can
be part of an omnivorous and vegetarian lifestyle.  At the same time, someone's diet should be based
on genetic requirements -- to complement one's individual chemical make-up, but should not be based
on dogmas or agendas.

Copyright © 2000-2009  Ronald Roth  Health Benefits of Vegan, Vegetarian & Vegetar

Vegetarian vegan

Vegetarians and vegans may live up to 10 years longer than meat-eaters, according to some experts. Others dispel this as a myth.

Among the most common reasons for giving up meat (and in a smaller percentage of cases (0.5 percent), all animal products) were health related. Over half (53 percent) of vegetarians said they eat that way to improve their overall health. Other reasons people gave for becoming vegetarian were:

  • Animal welfare (54 percent)

  • Environmental concerns (47 percent)

  • Natural approaches to wellness (39 percent)

  • Food-safety concerns (31 percent)

  • Weight loss (25 percent)

  • Weight maintenance (24 percent)

But while this style of eating certainly has its devotees, it also has its fair share of critics. So, once and for all, what do the experts say about being a vegetarian? Is it a good choice, a bad choice or, perhaps, somewhere in between?

The Plus-Side to Being Vegetarian

Many experts agree that vegetarian diets are good for you. According to the American Dietetic Association, for instance, "Vegetarian plans tend to result in lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Vegetarians also tend to have lower body mass indexes and cholesterol levels."

Meanwhile, according to research studies posted on GoVeg.com:

  • Vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have a 40 percent lower cancer rate of meat-eaters.

  • Meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans (who don't eat any animal products) are.

  • Vegetarians have stronger immune systems than meat-eaters.

  • Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.

Abstaining from meat, experts say, also helps the environment. According to GoVeg, eating one pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gasses as driving an SUV 40 miles. And in 2006 the United Nations called the meat industry "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."



GoVeg even quotes Environmental Defense, which says that "if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads."

Another plus side often given by vegetarian advocates is the humane treatment of animals. Factory farms, which supply much of the United States' meat, are widely known for their inhumane treatment of animals, and as a vegetarian or vegan you don't support that industry (at least to the extent a conventional meat-eater might).

The Down-Side to Being a Vegetarian

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a vegetarian diet is far from ideal, mostly because it lacks animal fats, which some experts say are necessary for human health.

"Scientific evidence [shows] that humans need animal foods, particularly animal fats, for optimum health," they say.

"The Foundation believes that strict vegetarianism (veganism) is detrimental to human health. Vegetarianism that includes eggs and raw (unpasteurized) dairy products, organic vegetables and fruits, properly prepared whole grains, legumes, and nuts, and excludes unfermented soy products and processed foods, can be a healthy option for some people. However, some people have difficulty assimilating vitamins, minerals, protein, and other factors from plant foods. These individuals may need a higher proportion of nutrients from animal foods to achieve optimum health."

The late Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP, wrote an article in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients that dispelled many "myths" about the benefits of vegetarianism in it he said, "many of the vegetarian claims cannot be substantiated and some are simply false and dangerous. There are benefits to vegetarian diets for certain health conditions, and some people function better on less fat and protein, but, as a practitioner who has dealt with several former vegetarians and vegans (total vegetarians), I know full well the dangerous effects of a diet devoid of healthful animal products."

The article also quotes H. Leon Abrams who said, "Humans have always been meat-eaters. The fact that no human society is entirely vegetarian, and those that are almost entirely vegetarian suffer from debilitated conditions of health, seems unequivocally to prove that a plant diet must be supplemented with at least a minimum amount of animal protein to sustain health.

animal fats

Some experts believe saturated animal fats, particularly those from healthy, grass-fed animals, are crucial for human health.

Humans are meat-eaters and always have been. Humans are also vegetable eaters and always have been, but plant foods must be supplemented by an ample amount of animal protein to maintain optimal health."

What about all of the saturated fats in animal foods? According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, they're actually good for you. Here they describe the many roles of saturated fats:

"Contrary to the accepted view, which is not scientifically based, saturated fats do not clog arteries or cause heart disease. In fact, the preferred food for the heart is saturated fat; and saturated fats lower a substance called Lp(a), which is a very accurate marker for proneness to heart disease.

Saturated fats play many important roles in the body chemistry. They strengthen the immune system and are involved in inter-cellular communication, which means they protect us against cancer. They help the receptors on our cell membranes work properly, including receptors for insulin, thereby protecting us against diabetes. The lungs cannot function without saturated fats, which is why children given butter and full-fat milk have much less asthma than children given reduced-fat milk and margarine. Saturated fats are also involved in kidney function and hormone production.

Saturated fats are required for the nervous system to function properly, and over half the fat in the brain is saturated. Saturated fats also help suppress inflammation. Finally, saturated animal fats carry the vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, which we we need in large amounts to be healthy.

Human beings have been consuming saturated fats from animals products, milk products and the tropical oils for thousands of years; it is the advent of modern processed vegetable oil that is associated with the epidemic of modern degenerative disease, not the consumption of saturated fats."

Feeling confused? You're not alone. There's a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to diet and nutrition. While the experts continue to battle it out over whether vegetarianism is healthy or harmful, you can take comfort in the fact that there is no right diet for everyone. You need to eat a diet that feels right for you, and that is one thing that almost everyone can agree on.


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