The Vegetarian Diet - Caution Needed

by Rajashri on Sep 29 2009 11:34 PM

Julie Gilbert, a Brisbane-based accredited practicing dietitian, says that people who elect to go vegetarian may actually be harming themselves as they replace meat products with items like pasta, which may not be so nutritious.

Gilbert says this is especially true among teenagers, who shum meat for vegetarian diets, "They are growing and developing and they need protein to come from a variety of plant foods because legumes, nuts and seeds by themselves are not complete proteins," she added.

There is a high risk of iron deficiency for teen girls who follow the vegetarian route without supplementing their diet with adequate foods.

Sanitarium dietician Angela Saunders agreed with this assessment and said that the main aim of the ongoing National Vegetarian Week is to get people thinking about shunning red meat, which has been linked to many cancers. However she added that there was a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency for vegetarians.

"If you're eating no animal products then you need to know where you'll get your vitamin B12 from. Most vegetarians are lacto-ovo vegetarians who are including dairy and eggs in their diets so they'll be covered," Saunders added.