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Vegetarian Nutrition & Weight Loss

Types of Vegetarian Nutrition Affects Body Mass Index Differently and Reduces Risk of Obesity

While most people know of vegetarian diet, and what a vegetarian diet involves, many do not know the different types of vegetarian diets and nutrition involved. Some of the different diets include vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pesco vegetarian, and semi vegetarian. The different types of vegetarian nutrition is briefly described below.

Vegan diet excludes the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans do not consume animal products of any kind.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian nutrition does not include animal meat of any type - they do not eat beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish; however, lacto ovo vegetarians do consume dairy and egg products.

Pesco vegetarian is a diet that includes seafood, but does not include any other types of animal meat. This diet includes all types of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, and dairy.

Semi vegetarian diet is not vegetarian, but it consumes less meat than typical meat diets. These diets also typically avoid red meat.

Different Types of Vegetarian Nutrition Diet Leads to Different Body Mass Index (BMI)

Because the different vegetarian diets listed above consume different foods, studies have found that these different vegetarian diets leads to different body mass indices. In a study done at the Loma Linda university in California, the researchers found that Body Mass Index (BMI) for vegans are the lowest while the BMI for meat eaters are the highest. This study involved 22,434 men and 38,469 women who participated during the period between 2002 and 2006. The results are as follows:

  • Vegans had a mean BMI of 23.6
  • Lacto ovo vegetarians had a mean BMI of 25.7
  • Pesco vegetarians had mean BMI of 26.3
  • Semi vegetarians had BMI of 27.3
  • Non vegetarians had a mean BMI of 28.8

Between vegan diets and non vegetarians, the BMI difference amounted to 5.2, which is very significant. This same study also found that type 2 diabetes increased from just 2.9% in vegans to 7.6% in non-vegetarians. Also a very significant increase. For lacto ovo vegetarians it was 3.2%, pesco vegetarians 4.8%, and semi vegetarians 6.1%. They found that all vegetarian nutrition diets had lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarians, while vegans had the lowest risk. [1]

It is clear from this that the more "vegetarian" your diet is (ie. as in being vegan), the less risk you have for type 2 diabetes, and at the same time, have a much lower risk for weight problems and obesity. There is a substantial potential for vegetarian diets to protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes.

What kind of diet do you currently follow? Regardless whether you're a semi vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, your health will benefit from reduced meat consumption and increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes. You can learn to quickly and easily prepare and cook delicious and healthy vegetarian meals with the recipes in Quick and Easy Chinese Vegetarian Cooking.

>> Click here to learn more about Quick and Easy Chinese Vegetarian Cooking, and improve your diet and health



1. Diabetes Care. 2009 May;32(5):791-6. Epub 2009 Apr 7.
Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
Tonstad S, Butler T, Yan R, Fraser GE.

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