A friend of mine has a problem: She gets sick a lot. I mean a whole lot. It seems as if she’s sick with a bad cold or a sinus infection or a bronchial thing once a month.
She’s also a vegetarian, gets no exercise, and is clearly gaining too much weight. I sure as hell would never say any of this to her, but I am bothered. I wondered if being a vegetarian is part of the problem. So I did some research and also asked University of Connecticut nutritional sciences Professor Hedley Freake (yes, that’s his real name) about the risks and benefits of being a vegetarian.
First a definition: Vegetarians eat no meat, meat products, poultry, or fish. The American Dietetic Association classifies vegetarians more specifically:
• Vegans exclude all animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and other dairy products).
• Lactovegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish, and eggs but include dairy products.
• Lacto-ovovegetarians exclude meat, poultry, and fish but include dairy and eggs.
Most vegetarians in the U.S. are lacto-ovovegetarians. Vegetarians eat mainly fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts.
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By Harlan Levy Journal Inquirer