Lacto Vegetarian Benefits: The Pros and Cons of a Veg and Dairy Diet
Lacto-Vegetarian Diet (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

You may have heard of a vegetarian diet and a vegan diet. But what exactly is a lacto-vegetarian diet? In India, lacto-vegetarian is synonymous with a vegetarian. In this diet, any kind of meat and egg products are avoided and a diet of only vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts and dairy is allowed. In India, a lacto-vegetarian diet is followed for religious as well as health reasons.  If you plan on ditching meat and want to transition into a vegan diet, you should cross over with the lacto-vegetarian diet. Here's everything you should know about the diet, including  its pros and cons. Is Going for Vegan Diet Healthy? Pros and Cons of Veganism.

What is Lacto-Vegetarian Diet?

Lacto-vegetarian is a diet which excludes eggs, meat poultry and seafood, but includes dairy products. This diet allows eating of all plant-based food along with products like yoghurt, cheese made out of animal’s milk. In simple language, this diet can be defined as vegan plus dairy.

Pros

1. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease: This type of vegetarianism diet helps in reducing the Bad 'LDL' cholesterol. This is responsible for increasing the risk of heart disease. This diet is also linked to reducing blood pressure.

2. Keeps Blood Sugar in Control: People who follow a vegetarian diet are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes as compared to the one who eats non-vegetarian food. Adopting a lacto-vegetarian diet can help enhance blood sugar level.

3. Aids in Weight Loss: Vegetarian food is rich in fibre and less in calories. People who avoid eating non-vegetarian food have less percentage of visceral fat. This fat surrounds vital organs and if not reduced, can lead to various health problems. Also, people following a Lacto-Vegetarian diet have lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who have meats.

Cons

1. Nutritional Deficiency: It is difficult to obtain essential nutrients like zinc, omega 3 fatty acid, protein and iron from vegetarian food. A well planned lacto-Vegetarian diet should be followed to fuel the body with essential nutrients.

2. Amino Acid Deficiency: The amino acids derived from animal flesh and eggs is way higher than vegetable foods. A vegetarian will have to consume more calories to ensure they get adequate amino acids for their body.  Increase in calories will lead to weight gain. Essential amino acids like leucine, isoleucine and valine are available in Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) supplements which vegetarian who does weight training will have to compulsorily take it.

3.Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vitamin B12 is present in excess in liver, meat and chicken. Vegetarian food lacks adequate Vitamin B12 and may cause nerve problems, fatigue, and difficulty in thinking.

It is very important to follow a proper lacto-Vegetarian diet to get any benefit. Vegetarian should try to include fruits, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats. People following a lacto-Vegetarian diet should include fresh produce such as apples, berries, broccoli, kale, spinach, avocado, bean and chickpeas in their daily meal.