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Most of us know someone who is a vegetarian. You may even be one yourself. Vegetarians are not a small cult. There are over an estimated 1.5 billion vegetarians worldwide and it is estimated that 5% of the U.S. population practices some form of vegetarianism. If the numbers of vegetarians doesn’t surprise you, perhaps the different types of vegetarians there are will. Depending on sources, there are eight or more different types of practicing vegetarians. Here are some of the more popular forms.
Vegetarian (Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism)
This popular form of vegetarianism includes a diet of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, grains and milk and eggs. It excludes meat, poultry, fish and foods containing those.
This diet takes its name from the words flexible vegetarian. It is a less strict form of vegetarianism that allows the participant to stray once in a while, by adding a burger or milk to a diet that generally is fruits and vegetables.
Pescatarians are vegetarians that also allow seafood to be included in their meals. This includes a variety of seafood like fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters and more. Pescatarians also allow dairy products like milk, eggs and cheese into their diets.
A Lacto-vegetarian eats a diet of fruit and vegetables and, while they will exclude meats and eggs, but will include dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and yogurt.
As opposed to Lacto-vegetarians, Ovo-vegetarians will include eggs in their diets but not dairy products. Ovo comes from the Latin for “egg”.
Vegans follow some of the most restrictive diets in that all of their foods are plant-based. Diets consist only of vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits, and strict vegans will even avoid items like honey that bees produce. While used mainly as a dietary term, vegans also avoid using any animal for exploitation, including clothing or other reasons.
While not necessarily a diet designed for weight loss, vegetarian diets can be healthier and are chosen by many world-class athletes. There are certainly enough forms of vegetarianism to be flexible enough for a large percentage of the population.
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