Is vegetarianism healthier than a carnivorous diet? Dr Cindy Pan gives her view.
The most honest answer I can give to this is, “It depends”. If being a vegetarian means you eat a lot of vegetables and fruits as well as plenty of lentils, wholegrain cereals, nuts, tofu, eggs, low-fat dairy products and other nutritious foods, which make up for the lack of meat and fish, then yes, this could result in a very healthy diet. But it would not necessarily be healthier than a similar diet that included lean meats, fish and seafood.
Vegetarianism generally means little more than a diet that excludes meat, fish and seafood; what it may include varies greatly from one vegetarian to another. Some vegetarians include dairy and eggs and some even include seafood, the so-called “pescatarians”.
The keys to a good diet, whether you decide to be strictly vegetarian, predominantly vegetarian or omnivore, are variety, balance, adequate nutrient content, sufficient but not excessive kilojoules and an optimal balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat that suits your lifestyle, age, level of activity and general health condition.