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Lacto-vegetarian Diet: Health Benefits, Risks, & Diet Plan

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 [1] .

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 [2] . 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 [3] . 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] .

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) [5] .

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 [6] .

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 [7] , [8] .

Diet Plan For Lacto-vegetarian Diet

Monday meal plan

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with cinnamon powder and sliced banana

Lunch

  • Vegetable burger with sweet potato wedges and side salad

Dinner

  • Bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, mixed veggies, and beans

Tuesday meal plan

Breakfast

  • Yogurt topped with walnuts and mixed berries

Lunch

  • Lentil curry with brown rice, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes

Dinner

  • Stir-fry peppers, carrots, green beans, carrots, and sesame-ginger tofu

Wednesday meal plan

Breakfast

  • Smoothie with veggies, fruit, whey protein, and nut butter

Lunch

  • Chickpea pot pie with a side of roasted carrots

Dinner

  • Teriyaki tempeh with couscous and broccoli

Thursday meal plan

Breakfast

  • Oats with milk, chia seeds, and fruits

Lunch

  • Burrito bowl with black beans, cheese, rice, salsa, guacamole, and vegetables

Dinner

  • Vegetables with sour cream and a side salad

Friday meal plan

Breakfast

  • Avocado toast with tomatoes and feta cheese

Lunch

  • Roasted asparagus and lentils

Dinner

  • 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
View Article References
  1. [1] 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.
  2. [2] 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.
  3. [3] 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.
  4. [4] Lanou, A. J., & Svenson, B. (2010). Reduced cancer risk in vegetarians: an analysis of recent reports.Cancer management and research,3, 1–8.
  5. [5] 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.
  6. [6] 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.
  7. [7] Wu, G. (2016). Dietary protein intake and human health.Food & function,7(3), 1251-1265.
  8. [8] 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.

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