In order to survive, every individual needs to have a food allowance. Normally, the kind of diet that an individual adheres to helps to serve various purposes such as prevention of weight gain as well as general maintenance of health. Indeed Virgil asserts that the “outmost and greatest wealth an individual would have is health” For others, ones diet helps to perpetuate the philosophies as well as the lifestyles followed. Jim Rohn, a renowned dietician said, “Individuals need take care of their bodies as it’s the just the place they have to live”. The popularity of these diets is based on the premise and the ability to prevent many health conditions as well as ensure maintenance of the physiques of individuals regardless of their cultural orientation.
Vegetarian diet encompasses taking meals whose ingredients include fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, nuts, and seeds. It does not involve the intake of animal products. There are several reasons that warrant individuals to embark on a purely vegetarian diet. Some people embark on vegetarianism owing to religion, political and cultural affiliations as well as economic orientation. There are various manifestations of vegetarianism such as lacto- vegetarians, ovo- vegetarians, a combination of lacto and ovo- vegetarian and a strict vegetarian. Lacto vegetarians’ meals mainly comprise of honey and dairy products with a strict avoidance of eggs while the ovovegetarians have an inclination to eggs without the dairy products (Glasziou 26). The vegans’ meals comprise of plant foodstuffs only.
Individuals who take vegetarian diet exhibit a lower body mass index. The adherence of a vegetarian diet results to low incidence rates of such conditions as obesity as well as unhealthy weight gains. Vegetarian diet is essentially safe as it guards against acquisition of such diseases associated with obesity as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and other lipid and cholesterol associated conditions (Glasziou 26).
Additionally, studies conducted from renowned medical associations like the American dietetic association indicate that vegetarians have a minimal chance of developing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, gout and renal diseases compared to individuals who take animal products. Additionally, results released in the 2011 agriculture and food chemistry journal reveal vegetarians’ exhibit reduced body weight as well as incidence of high blood pressure. Normally, a vegetarian diet is devoid of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol that are prevalent in animal products. Thus, a vegetarian diet ideally results to excellent health outcomes.
Another key benefit of a vegetarian diet is its cost effectiveness as the cost of vegetables in almost every part of the world is relatively low as compared to any other meal. Most of the vegetarian diet is made of fibre (high fibre) unlike the animal-based products and this reduces the rate of constipation. Vegetarian diet contains fruits and vegetables that are the main sources of essential vitamins such as A, C and E. Vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant, it helps in collagen repair and wound healing therefore the vegetarians are less likely to suffer from collagen disorders, and poor wound healing. Lastly, statistics indicate that a vegetarian diet results to increased life expectancy.
As much as vegetarian diet seems to have more roles to play in boosting the health of an individual it also has its disadvantages. In the human body, some vitamins like B12 are not synthesized in the body they are only found in animal products and therefore they are likely to suffer from the deficiency of the same, and therefore they are likely to present with peripheral neuropathy, some forms of anemia like megaloblastic anemia (Brown 34).
Iron deficiency it has been shown that vegetarians are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency compared to the rest of the population. The iron from plants has a low bioavailability compared to animal products iron. However, the American Dietetic Association states iron deficiency is no more common in vegetarians but exhibits similar incidence rates (Sanders and Bravata 216).
Low Carbohydrate diet
This refers to dietary programme that involves restriction of carbohydrate intake. The popularity of this diet is mainly with individuals who wish to achieve weight control as well as treatment of obesity (Bowman 413). The success of a low carbohydrate diet emanates from the ability to make the body to revert in making energy from fats hence reducing the weight of an individual. This is done by eliminating the intake of foods rich in carbohydrates and replacing them with foods that are rich in proteins and fats.
There are several benefits associated with a low-carbohydrate diet. The diet is critical in the treatment of other conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and chronic fatigue syndrome. In a randomized meta- analysis in 2003 revealed that, low carbohydrate diet is effective in weight reduction. The diet tends to reduce the blood lipids and reduces the risk of getting a cardiovascular disease like coronary heart diseases.
Low carbohydrate diet leads to breakdown of fats that finally lead to formation of ketones, which cause ketoacidosis. This condition, which is life-threatening works to destabilize the body’s PH. The initial weeks of taking this diet normally results to fatigue due to hypoglycemia. According to Jama (34), hypoglycemia has adverse effects upon the brain as well as the entire body of an individual. The condition may also lead to stunted growth as well as delayed developmental milestones in children. The major disadvantage of this diet is that most of the low carbohydrate foods are refined and lack fibers, and therefore they have a high chance of causing constipation (King and Freedman 197).
Bowman, Spencer. Popular diets: Correlation to health, Nutrition and Obesity. Journal of American Dietetic Association, 101(4), 411-420.
Brown, Judith. Nutrition Now. KY, Florence: Cengage learning, 2008.
Freedman, Marjorie and Eileen Kennedy. Popular diets: A scientific review. New York, U.S.A: North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO), 2001.
Glasziou, Peter. Advice on vegetarian diets. The Cochrane Library Issue, 1(12), 124-126.
Jama, Bray. Low carbohydrate diet and realities of weight loss. Obes, Res, 11: 874, 2004.
King, J and Freedman, MR. Popular diets. Obes, Res, 11:731, 2001.
Melanson, Kerry. Popular diets for treatments of overweight and obesity. New York, U.S.A: Handbook of obesity treatment, 2002.
Sanders, Lillian and Bravata, DM. Low carbohydrate diets: a systematic review. JAMA.2003; 289: 1837-1846.