Lacto-Vegetarian Diet, Meal Plan, Benefits and What to Eat
Benefits of a Lacto-Vegetarian Diet
- Lacto-vegetarianism, also known as milk-vegetarianism or dairy-free vegetarianism, may seem like an oxymoron to some, but those who follow this diet do so with good reason:
- They believe that they can derive all the nutrients they need from milk and milk products alone.
- This article covers the benefits of lacto-vegetarianism, how to eat as a lacto-vegetarian, and even includes recipes to try out.
1) A lacto-vegetarian diet can help you live longer
In addition to cutting your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure; research suggests that you may be able to extend your life by up to 5 years if you stick with lacto-vegetarianism.
No wonder vegetarians live longer than their meat-eating counterparts! If you’re looking for an easy way to drastically improve your health in 2019—cutting out animal products is one of the best ways to do it. But don’t just take our word for it.
A lacto-vegetarian diet can help you lose weight: Studies show that low-fat vegetarian diets are more effective at helping people lose weight than low-fat diets that include meat.
And while vegetarian diets are typically lower in calories, they aren’t necessarily lower in fat or carbohydrates. So if you want to cut back on calories but still enjoy delicious meals—try going vegetarian!
2) It can help reduce your chances of developing cancer
Studies have shown that meat-eaters are more likely to develop cancer than vegetarians. Research even suggests that replacing red meat with high-fiber foods like beans may decrease your risk. Keep in mind though that these studies were observational—they did not test cause and effect.
It’s also important to note that following any diet can help reduce your risk of certain diseases—this includes vegetarianism, so it’s possible there is a correlation between those who didn’t consume meat for health reasons rather than environmental ones.
Still, if you want to take steps toward preventing cancer, eating less meat is one way to do it. If nothing else, going veg once or twice a week will at least lower your risk of developing some cancers, according to research from Loma Linda University.
3) A Lacto-vegetarian diet can help fight high blood pressure
Lacto-vegetarians typically get twice as much potassium in their diets than meat-eaters do. That helps lower blood pressure significantly more than getting your daily dose of supplements.
The results showed that Lacto-vegetarians had average systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) of 121 millimeters of mercury compared with 132 mm Hg for nonvegetarians; diastolic blood pressure was 81 mm Hg for vegetarians versus 87 mm Hg for nonvegans.
Because about 70 percent of people with high blood pressure are unaware they have it, that makes a difference. Of course, people who make dietary changes should consult their physicians regularly. If you’re already on medication, work closely with your doctor when changing your diet.
If you’re not on medication yet, you may want to consider starting after making these changes—especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease such as obesity or diabetes.
4) A Lacto-vegetarian diet helps with weight loss
A Lacto-vegetarian diet means you don’t eat any meat, poultry or fish—all animal products are off-limits. This includes all dairy products (including eggs), although many individuals are also ovo vegetarians and will include egg whites in their diet.
The reasoning behind eliminating meat from your diet is simple: A vegetarian meal plan is generally lower in calories than a non-vegetarian meal plan.
By limiting your intake of high fat animal products, it’s easier to lose weight as opposed to attempting to do so on an omnivorous diet. Most lacto-vegetarians follow around 1,800 calories per day—that can be adjusted based on individual needs.
A sample daily menu might look like: Breakfast – Two cups of cereal with one cup of low-fat milk, one banana and two tablespoons of raisins; Lunch – One cup of lentil soup with half a sandwich made with low-fat bread, lettuce and tomato; Dinner – Three ounces of grilled tofu topped with salsa served over brown rice with a side salad.
5) A lacto-vegetarian diet supports heart health
A lacto-vegetarian diet includes all of the foods that vegetarians can eat. Oils and sugars are not included in these diets. Red meat is also excluded from most lacto-vegetarian diets.
The amount of fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains eaten is much higher than what is generally recommended by a typical Western diet.
This type of vegetarian diet includes no red meat or poultry whatsoever. Some dietary supplements should be taken into consideration if you’re interested in following a lacto-vegetarian diet.
Check with your physician first before making any changes to your current nutrition plan or taking any nutritional supplements. If you choose to take any nutritional supplements, consult with your physician about appropriate dosages.
Supplements may help fill some of the gaps left by eliminating animal products from your diet. For example, iron deficiency anemia can occur when eating only plant based foods because plants do not contain enough iron for optimal absorption by humans.
The risk for iron deficiency anemia may be reduced by using iron supplementation when following a lacto-vegetarian diet plan. In addition, people who have a hard time digesting dairy products may want to consider using digestive enzymes when consuming dairy products on a lacto-vegetarian diet plan.
6) A lacto-vegetarian diet promotes bone health
A diet rich in vitamin D3 is associated with an increase in bone density, which may lower fracture risk for older adults.
Lacto-vegetarians get vitamin D3 from fortified dairy products. According to one study published in The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, women who consumed between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D3 each day had higher bone mineral density than those who did not.
Similarly, in another study published in Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found that postmenopausal women who consumed 1,000 IU per day had better bone mineral density than those who didn’t. These findings suggest that lacto-vegetarians have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures as they age.
But vegetarians should also be sure to consume foods rich in calcium, like kale, spinach, sesame seeds, almonds and blackstrap molasses—just remember to drink lots of water!
7) Vegetarians have lower rates of diabetes and hypertension than meat eaters do
Vegetarians are at lower risk for developing diabetes than nonvegetarians are. In fact, a study published in Diabetes Care found that compared with meat eaters, people who followed vegetarian diets were 32 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over time.
In addition, studies have shown that vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat than other types of diet. Eating fewer saturated fats may reduce your risk for high blood pressure or hypertension.
The good news: People who follow lacto-vegetarian or ovo-lacto vegetarian diets can still enjoy many benefits—such as lower risks for cancer and heart disease—that come with following these types of diets.
The Vegan Diet Is Associated With Lower Blood Pressure: In a study of 60 adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension, researchers found that participants on a vegan diet had lower blood pressure readings after just three weeks on their new eating plan.