Vegetarianism and health # 2

In the first part of this article, we saw:

  • that humans were not made to eat only plants, including in the origins of humanity
  • that if we wanted to eliminate all or part of the animal products, we had to be careful to seriously control its nutrient intake

In this second part I will focus more on the different types of vegetarianism, as well as their risks for each of them in terms of potential deficiencies, and how to remedy this.

We will therefore see one by one the following diets: pesco-vegetarianism, ovo-lacto-vegetarianism, ovo-vegetarianism, lacto-vegetarianism and veganism .


What is it?

The pesco-végétarisme allows eggs and dairy products but also fish and shellfish. There is a variant which consists in allowing not fish and shellfish, but white meats (this is called pollo-vegetarianism ). An even freer version called semi-vegetarianism allows at the same time white meats, fish and shellfish, eggs and dairy products. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and in my opinion it is more a reasonable and balanced diet of quality than vegetarianism, it seems so “lax” to me.

The pesco-vegetarianism does not pose any concern of potential deficiency, because it contains a significant contribution of good fruits and vegetables as well as sources of animal proteins of high quality (seafood rich in zinc ( oysters, crustaceans ), omega 3 ( sardines, mackerel ), vitamin B12 ( clams and oysters which contain about 6 times more than a beef steak! ), fer ( again clams and oysters, which contain twice as much as the liver ), and eggs rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A), minerals and amino acids).


What is it?

L’ovo-lacto-végétarisme allows dairy products and eggs, but no animal flesh. The risk of deficiency is low, however, it is necessary to monitor its omega 3 intake which will be done by consuming organic eggs and / or eggs enriched with omega 3 (in the latter case, the hens are fed flax seeds rich in omega 3 ALA: Since hens synthesize DHA very easily from ALA, you will find very good quality omega 3 DHA that is bioavailable to humans in these eggs).

The intake of other nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and zinc should be sufficient from the combination of eggs and dairy products, although these food families are much less dense in nutrients than seafood. Watch your iron in particular and don’t hesitate to do the same for vitamin B12 and zinc anyway.


What is it?

L’ ovo-vegetarianism only allows eggs as a source of animal protein. As with ovo-lacto-vegetarianism, care must be taken to provide good omega 3 by choosing quality eggs. As the sources of animal products are reduced, it is useful to take a dietary zinc supplement to maintain good testosterone levels and to keep energy levels high enough to ensure sports training. Iron and especially vitamin B12 can be a problem: watch them closely.


What is it?

The lacto-vegetarianism only allows milk as an animal source. Because eggs aren’t allowed, consume seeds that are high in omega 3 ALA. As with ova-vegetarianism, you should also supplement yourself with zinc and monitor your vitamin B12 and iron very closely.

Since milk is a pro-inflammatory food, it can be harmful to rely only on dairy products for your protein needs if you have an intolerance or an autoimmune disease. Consider varying your sources of protein with legumes, nuts and seeds. For the same reason that you will not be consuming a lot of dairy products per day, it may be a good idea to monitor your vitamin B12 levels regularly in order to consider (or not) supplementation.


What is it?

The vegetalism excludes any product from animals: meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, but also honey. Veganism is based on the same diet, but with a broader ethical aspect, because they do not consume / use any product from animal exploitation (do not wear leather, wool …).

It is interesting to supplement with omega 3 DHA (from algae) and vitamin D3 (from lichen), it is very useful to supplement with zinc and above all it is vital to supplement vitamin B12. I do not recommend iron supplementation since it can be dangerous. But watch him closely!

It is the most restrictive, expensive and risky form of vegetarianism. It’s not impossible to stay healthy on this diet, and it is even possible to improve your strength training. However, I’ll be honest with you: if you don’t do it out of real philosophical and ethical conviction on the one hand, and if you don’t a lot of money to put in for food supplements of high quality on the other hand (it is possible to have very serious deficiencies in B12 vitamins despite a large and regular intake of a food supplement, because it will not have been of sufficient quality), then do not follow this diet. Why? Because you risk not holding out morally, physically and / or financially.

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