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Forget Mediterranean diet, Paleo diet, Atkins diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet! Lacto-vegetarian diet is the new trend - which people are opting due to its numerous health benefits.
What Is A Lacto-vegetarian Diet?
A lacto-vegetarian diet is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes poultry, meat, seafood, and eggs. In other words, a lacto-vegetarian diet includes all plant-based foods and dairy products like yogurt, cheese, milk, goat's milk, etc.
According to a study, reducing the intake of meat and other animal products benefits your health in several ways  .
In India, some communities follow a lacto-vegetarian diet as their religious practices and beliefs demand so.
Health Benefits Of Lacto-vegetarian Diet
1. Aids in losing weight
Studies have shown that body mass index (BMI) is lower in vegetarians as compared to those who eat meat  . Plant-based diets contain fewer calories, more fibre than meat-based diets, which is beneficial for losing weight.
2. Supports heart health
According to a report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, lacto-vegetarian diet aids in lowering bad cholesterol, which is a major contributor to heart disease  . Vegetarian diet, like the lacto-vegetarian diet, is helpful in reducing high blood pressure level, thereby lowering the risk for heart attack and brain stroke.
3. Prevents cancer
According to a study published in the Cancer Management and Research, the consumption of a vegetarian diet can lower the risk of developing several kinds of cancer by 10-12 per cent  .
4. Controls blood sugar
Research studies have shown that lacto-vegetarian diet can control blood sugar levels. A study which included 255 type 2 diabetic people who consumed vegetarian diet had a significant reduction in haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)  .
156,000 adults who followed a lacto-vegetarian diet were 33 per cent less likely to have type 2 diabetes, compared to those who follow non-vegetarian diets, mentioned concluded a research study, published in the Nutrition Journal  .
Foods To Eat On A Lacto-vegetarian Diet
- Fruits - Oranges, peaches, bananas, apples, melons, berries, and pears.
- Vegetables - Bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and arugula.
- Whole grains - Oats, rice, quinoa, amaranth, barley, and buckwheat.
- Legumes - Chickpeas, peas, lentils, and beans.
- Dairy products - Butter, cheese, yogurt, and milk.
- Healthy fats - Avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil.
- Nuts - Hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and nut butters.
- Protein foods - Tofu, tempeh, vegetarian protein powder, whey, and nutritional yeast.
- Seeds - Sunflower seeds, chia seeds,pumpkin seeds, Flaxseeds, and hemp seeds.
- Herbs and spices - Rosemary, thyme, cumin, oregano, turmeric, pepper, and basil.
Foods To Avoid On A Lacto-vegetarian Diet
- Meat - Lamb, beef, pork, veal, and processed meat products like sausage, bacon, and deli meat.
- Poultry - Chicken, goose, turkey, duck, and quail.
- Eggs - Egg yolks, egg whites, and whole eggs.
- Seafood - Sardines, mackerel, tuna, salmon, shrimp, and anchovies.
- Meat-based ingredients - Carmine, gelatin, suet, and lard.
Side Effects Of Lacto-vegetarian Diet
Meat, seafood, and poultry are a rich source of protein, zinc, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin D. A deficiency in these nutrients can lead to certain health conditions like changes in mood, anaemia, impaired immune function, and stunted growth  ,  .
Diet Plan For Lacto-vegetarian Diet
Monday meal plan
- Oatmeal with cinnamon powder and sliced banana
- Vegetable burger with sweet potato wedges and side salad
- Bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, mixed veggies, and beans
Tuesday meal plan
- Yogurt topped with walnuts and mixed berries
- Lentil curry with brown rice, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes
- Stir-fry peppers, carrots, green beans, carrots, and sesame-ginger tofu
Wednesday meal plan
- Smoothie with veggies, fruit, whey protein, and nut butter
- Chickpea pot pie with a side of roasted carrots
- Teriyaki tempeh with couscous and broccoli
Thursday meal plan
- Oats with milk, chia seeds, and fruits
- Burrito bowl with black beans, cheese, rice, salsa, guacamole, and vegetables
- Vegetables with sour cream and a side salad
Friday meal plan
- Avocado toast with tomatoes and feta cheese
- Roasted asparagus and lentils
- Falafel wrap with tahini, onions, parsley, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Healthy Snacks To Include In A Lacto-vegetarian Diet
- Sliced apples with nut butter
- Carrots and hummus
- Cheese and crackers
- Mixed fruit with cottage cheese
- Kale chips
- Yogurt with berries
- Roasted edamame
- Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate
-  Richi, E. B., Baumer, B., Conrad, B., Darioli, R., Schmid, A., & Keller, U. (2015). Health risks associated with meat consumption: a review of epidemiological studies.Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res,85(1-2), 70-78.
-  Spencer, E. A., Appleby, P. N., Davey, G. K., & Key, T. J. (2003). Diet and body mass index in 38 000 EPIC-Oxford meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans.International journal of obesity,27(6), 728.
-  Wang, F., Zheng, J., Yang, B., Jiang, J., Fu, Y., & Li, D. (2015). Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Blood Lipids: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.Journal of the American Heart Association,4(10), e002408.
-  Lanou, A. J., & Svenson, B. (2010). Reduced cancer risk in vegetarians: an analysis of recent reports.Cancer management and research,3, 1–8.
-  Yokoyama, Y., Barnard, N. D., Levin, S. M., & Watanabe, M. (2014). Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy,4(5), 373–382.
-  Agrawal, S., Millett, C. J., Dhillon, P. K., Subramanian, S. V., & Ebrahim, S. (2014). Type of vegetarian diet, obesity and diabetes in adult Indian population.Nutrition journal,13, 89.
-  Wu, G. (2016). Dietary protein intake and human health.Food & function,7(3), 1251-1265.
-  Miller J. L. (2013). Iron deficiency anemia: a common and curable disease.Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine,3(7), 10.1101/cshperspect.a011866 a011866.