Lacto-Vegetarian Diet: Benefits, Foods to Eat and Meal Plan
Like other variations of vegetarianism, a lacto-vegetarian diet can help reduce your environmental impact (1Trusted Source).
However, you should take several factors into account to ensure your diet is healthy and balanced.
This article looks at the benefits and downsides of a lacto-vegetarian diet, in addition to providing a list of foods to eat and sample meal plan.
What is a Lacto-Vegetarian Diet?
The lacto-vegetarian diet is a variation of vegetarianism that excludes meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Unlike some other vegetarian diets, it includes certain dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk.
People often adopt a lacto-vegetarian diet for environmental or ethical reasons.
Other common forms of vegetarianism include the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, ovo-vegetarian diet, and vegan diet.
The lacto-vegetarian diet is a type of vegetarianism that excludes meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, but includes dairy products. People may choose to adopt a lacto-vegetarian diet for environmental, ethical, or health reasons.
Following a nutritious, well-rounded lacto-vegetarian diet can offer impressive health benefits.
Below are a few of the potential health benefits associated with this eating pattern.
Improves Heart Health
Multiple studies have found that lacto-vegetarian diets may improve heart health and decrease several common risk factors for heart disease.
Several other studies have found that vegetarian diets may be linked to reduced blood pressure. This is beneficial, as high blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke (4Trusted Source).
Promotes Blood Sugar Control
Some research suggests that adopting a lacto-vegetarian diet could help enhance blood sugar control.
A review of 6 studies including 255 people linked vegetarian diets to significant reductions in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a marker of long-term blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes (5Trusted Source).
Another review reported that following a vegetarian diet was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (6Trusted Source).
In addition, a study including more than 156,000 adults found that those who followed a lacto-vegetarian diet were 33% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with those who followed non-vegetarian diets (7Trusted Source).
Supports Weight Loss
Adopting a lacto-vegetarian diet may not only be good for your health but also your waistline.
A large review of 12 studies showed that people who followed a vegetarian diet for 18 weeks lost an average of 4.5 pounds (2 kg) more than non-vegetarians (12Trusted Source).
May Reduce the Risk of Certain Cancers
Numerous observational studies have found that following a lacto-vegetarian diet may be associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer.
Notably, vegetarian diets have been linked to a 10–12% lower risk of developing cancer overall. They've likewise been linked to a reduced risk of specific types, including colorectal and breast cancer (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that these studies show an association, not a cause-effect relationship.
Further research is needed to evaluate whether following a lacto-vegetarian diet may help reduce your risk of cancer.
Studies show that following a balanced lacto-vegetarian diet may help improve heart health, promote blood sugar control, aid weight loss, and reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.
A balanced lacto-vegetarian diet can supply all the nutrients your body needs.
However, without proper planning, it may increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Eggs are also rich in many micronutrients, such as vitamins A and D (18Trusted Source).
A deficiency in these important nutrients can cause symptoms like stunted growth, anemia, impaired immune function, and mood changes (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
If you're following a lacto-vegetarian diet, make sure you're getting these nutrients from other food sources or supplements to meet your daily needs.
Filling your diet with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, milk products, and plant-based, protein-rich foods will help ensure you're getting the nutrients you need.
In some cases, a multivitamin or omega-3 supplement may also be necessary to help fill any gaps in your diet.
Following a lacto-vegetarian diet requires you to pay special attention to your nutrient intake. Using supplements and following a diet rich in whole foods can help you meet your daily needs and prevent nutrient deficiencies.
Foods to Eat
A healthy lacto-vegetarian diet should include a variety of plant-based foods and dairy products.
Here are some foods you can enjoy as part of a lacto-vegetarian diet:
- Fruits: apples, oranges, berries, melons, peaches, pears, bananas
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, peppers, arugula
- Legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas
- Healthy fats: avocado, coconut oil, olive oil
- Whole grains: barley, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, rice, amaranth
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, butter
- Protein foods: tofu, tempeh, nutritional yeast, whey, vegetarian protein powder
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, nut butters
- Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds
- Herbs and spices: cumin, turmeric, basil, oregano, rosemary, pepper, thyme
A lacto-vegetarian diet can include a variety of different foods, including fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, dairy products, and protein-rich foods.
Foods to Avoid
A lacto-vegetarian diet does not include meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Here are some of the foods you should avoid as part of a lacto-vegetarian diet:
- Meat: beef, pork, veal, lamb, and processed meat products like bacon, sausage, deli meat, and beef jerky
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail
- Seafood: salmon, shrimp, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, tuna
- Eggs: includes whole eggs, egg whites, and egg yolks
- Meat-based ingredients: gelatin, lard, suet, carmine
A lacto-vegetarian diet limits the consumption of meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and meat-based ingredients.
Sample Meal Plan
Here is a five-day sample meal plan that you can use to get started on a lacto-vegetarian diet.
- Breakfast: oatmeal with cinnamon and sliced banana
- Lunch: veggie burger with sweet potato wedges and side salad
- Dinner: bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, beans, and mixed veggies
- Breakfast: yogurt topped with walnuts and mixed berries
- Lunch: curried lentils with brown rice, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes
- Dinner: stir-fry with peppers, green beans, carrots, and sesame-ginger tofu
- Breakfast: smoothie with whey protein, veggies, fruit, and nut butter
- Lunch: chickpea pot pie with a side of roasted carrots
- Dinner: teriyaki tempeh with broccoli and couscous
- Breakfast: overnight oats with chia seeds, milk, and fresh fruit
- Lunch: burrito bowl with black beans, rice, cheese, guacamole, salsa, and vegetables
- Dinner: vegetarian chili with sour cream and a side salad
- Breakfast: avocado toast with tomatoes and feta cheese
- Lunch: lentil-baked ziti with roasted asparagus
- Dinner: falafel wrap with tahini, tomatoes, parsley, onions, and lettuce
Lacto-Vegetarian Snack Ideas
Here are a few healthy snacks you can include on a lacto-vegetarian diet:
- carrots and hummus
- sliced apples with nut butter
- kale chips
- cheese and crackers
- mixed fruit with cottage cheese
- roasted edamame
- yogurt with berries
- trail mix with dark chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit
The five-day sample menu above provides some meal and snack ideas you can enjoy as part of a lacto-vegetarian diet. You can adjust any of them to fit your personal tastes and preferences.
The Bottom Line
The lacto-vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, but includes dairy products.
It may be associated with numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of cancer, increased weight loss, and improved blood sugar control and heart health.
Yet, be sure to fill up on nutrient-dense, whole foods to meet your nutritional needs.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.
- Protecting Mangroves Can Prevent Billions of Dollars in Global ... ›
- Could the 'Mangrove Effect' Save Coasts From Sea Level Rise ... ›
Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?
- 5 Things to Know About Earth's Warming Oceans - EcoWatch ›
- Bioluminescent Waves Mesmerize California Beachgoers, Surfers ... ›
- NOAA: 2020 Could Be Warmest Year on Record - EcoWatch ›
- On June 8, We Celebrate Our Oceans, Our Future - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Things to Know About the State of Our Oceans for World Oceans Day ›
By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas
From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.
When Looking Through a Microscope Isn’t Close Enough.<p>For the last few years, <a href="http://www.rokaslab.org/" target="_blank">our team at Vanderbilt University</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/lab/Gustavo-Goldman-Lab" target="_blank">Gustavo Goldman's team at São Paulo University in Brazil</a> and many other collaborators around the world have been collecting samples of fungi from patients infected with different species of <em>Aspergillus</em> molds. One of the species we are particularly interested in is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/rwgn.2001.0082" target="_blank"><em>Aspergillus nidulans</em>, a relatively common and generally harmless fungus</a>. Clinical laboratories typically identify the species of <em>Aspergillus</em> causing the infection by examining cultures of the fungi under the microscope. The problem with this approach is that very closely related species of <em>Aspergillus</em> tend to look very similar in their broad morphology or physical appearance when viewing them through a microscope.</p><p>Interested in examining the varying abilities of different <em>A. nidulans</em> strains to cause disease, we decided to analyze their total genetic content, or genomes. What we saw came as a total surprise. We had not collected <em>A. nidulans</em> but <em>Aspergillus latus</em>, a close relative of <em>A. nidulans</em> and, as we were to soon find out, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.071" target="_blank">a hybrid species that evolved through the fusion of the genomes</a> of two other <em>Aspergillus</em> species: <em>Aspergillus spinulosporus</em> and an unknown close relative of <em>Aspergillus quadrilineatus</em>. Thus, we realized not only that these patients harbored infections from an entirely different species than we thought they were, but also that this species was the first ever <em>Aspergillus</em> hybrid known to cause human infections.</p>
Several Different Fungal Hybrids Cause Human Disease.<p>Hybrid fungi that can cause infections in humans are well known to occur in several different lineages of single-celled fungi known as yeasts. Notable examples include multiple different species of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/yea.3242" target="_blank">yeast hybrids</a> that cause the human diseases <a href="https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6218/cryptococcosis" target="_blank">cryptococcosis</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html" target="_blank">candidiasis</a>. Although pathogenic yeast hybrids are well known, our discovery that the <em>A. latus</em> pathogen is a hybrid is a first for molds that cause disease in humans.</p>
(Left) Candida yeasts live on parts of the human body. Imbalance of microbes on the body can allow these yeasts, some of which are hybrids, to grow and cause infection. (Right) Cryptococcus yeasts, including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008315" target="_blank">Why certain <em>Aspergillus</em> species are so deadly</a> while others are harmless remains unknown. This may in part be because <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2007.02.007" target="_blank">combinations of traits, rather than individual traits</a>, underlie organisms' ability to cause disease. So why then are hybrids frequently associated with human disease? Hybrids inherit genetic material from both parents, which may result in new combinations of traits. This may make them more similar to one parent in some of their characteristics, reflect both parents in others or may differ from both in the rest. It is precisely this mix and match of traits that hybrids have inherited from their parental species that <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/science/14creatures.html" target="_blank">facilitates their evolutionary success</a>, including their ability to cause disease.</p>
The Evolutionary Origin of an Aspergillus Hybrid.<p>Multiple evolutionary paths can lead to the emergence of hybrids. One path is through mating, just as the horse and donkey mate to create a mule. Another path is through the merging or fusion of genetic material from cells of different species.</p><p>It is this second path that appears to have been taken by our fungus. <em>A. latus</em> appears to have two of almost everything compared to its parental species: twice the genome size, twice the total number of genes and so on. But unlike other hybrids, which are often sterile like the mule, we found that <em>A. latus</em> is capable of reproducing both asexually and sexually.</p><p>But how distinct were the parents of <em>A. latus</em>? By comparing the parts contributed by each parent in the <em>A. latus</em> genome, we estimate that its parents are approximately 93% genetically similar, which is about as related as we humans are with lemurs. In other words, <em>A. latus</em>, an agent of infectious disease, is the fungal equivalent of a human-lemur hybrid.</p>
How A. Latus Differs From its Parents.<p>Elucidating the identity of closely related fungal pathogens and how they differ from each other in infection-relevant characteristics is a key step toward reducing the burden of fungal disease. For example, we found that <em>A. latus</em> was three times more resistant than <em>A. nidulans</em>, the species it was originally identified as using microscopy-based methods, to one of the most common antifungal drugs, <a href="https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00520" target="_blank">caspofungin</a>. This result provides a clear example of the potential importance of accurate identification of the <em>Aspergillus</em> pathogen causing an infection.</p><p>We also examined how <em>A. latus</em> and <em>A. nidulans</em> interact with cells from our immune system. We found that immune cells were less efficient at combating <em>A. latus</em> compared to <em>A. nidulans</em>, suggesting the hybrid fungus may be trickier for our immune systems to identify and destroy.</p><p>In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our quest to understand <em>Aspergillus</em> pathogens is becoming more urgent. Growing evidence suggests that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/myc.13096" target="_blank">a fraction of COVID-19 patients are also infected with <em>Aspergillus</em>.</a> More worrying is that these <a href="https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2607.201603" target="_blank">secondary <em>Aspergillus</em> infections</a> can worsen the clinical outcomes for those infected with the novel coronavirus. That being said, we stress that little is known about <em>Aspergillus</em> infections in COVID-19 patients due to a lack of systematic testing, and none of the infections identified so far appear to have been caused by hybrids.</p><p>So, when it comes to hybrids, some are fantastic (the minotaur), some are helpful (the mule) and some are dangerous (<em>Aspergillus latus</em>). Understanding more about the biology of <em>Aspergillus latus</em> may help in our understanding of how microbial pathogens arise and how to best prevent and combat their infections.</p>
This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.
- As Protests Rage, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice ... ›
- First-Ever Black Birders Week Tackles Racism Outdoors - EcoWatch ›
- 15 EcoWatch Stories on Environmental and Racial Injustice ... ›
- Take a Hike Day Is Around the Bend. What's Your Dream Hike ... ›
By John Letzing
This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."
The Navajo Nation covers the corners of three different states. Google Maps
Growing Contribution<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NDY5Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjM4MTgyM30.IuQTKQs1stvYYKD6vaVTrqAyoBsUG0BhDvlhxsyKwPA/img.png?width=980" id="02a05" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2841f82b1785df5d5ed7bf64d3bb882b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
World Economic Forum
- Black and Hispanic Americans Suffer Disproportionate Coronavirus ... ›
- Native American Tribes' Pandemic Response Is Hindered by ... ›
- Navajo Nation Has Highest Covid-19 Infection Rate in the U.S. ... ›
World Environment Day: A Time to Consider the Planet We’ll Return To, and Decide How to Care for It Going Forward
It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.
Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.
DAN medical experts explained the difference between normal lungs, on the left, and "very serious lungs caused by COVID-19," on the right. Matias Nochetto / Divers Alert Network (DAN)
- How the COVID-19 Coronavirus Attacks the Entire Body - EcoWatch ›
- What Does 'Recovered From Coronavirus' Mean? - EcoWatch ›
- Scuba Divers Make Face Masks out of Recycled Ocean Plastic ... ›