The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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The science of nutrition and healthy eating

3 Vegetarian and vegan diets

Does the Eatwell Guide help people who follow a vegetarian or vegan approach (Figure 13)? The protein section does include suitable options and, therefore, is very relevant.

The official trademarks used on products endorsed by the Vegan and the Vegetarian Society
Figure 14 The official trademarks used on products endorsed by the Vegan and the Vegetarian Society

The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as follows.

A vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, fungi, algae, yeast and/or some other non-animal-based foods (e.g. salt) with, or without, dairy products, honey and/or eggs. A vegetarian does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal. This includes meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, insects, by-products of slaughter or any food made with processing aids created from these.

Vegetarian society (2018)

There are four main different types of vegetarianism as you will see in the next activity.

Activity 5 Types of vegetarianism

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

Match the relevant type of vegetarianism with the types of food eaten.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians

  2. Lacto-vegetarians

  3. Ovo-vegetarians

  4. Vegans

  • eggs but not dairy products

  • both dairy products and eggs

  • dairy products but avoid eggs

  • not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are derived from animals

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = b
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = a
  • 4 = d


  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs; this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products.
  • Vegans do not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are derived from animals.

There is another category called pescetarianism or pesco-vegetarianism. Most vegetarians maintain a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet with the addition of fish and shellfish.

The choice of following certain dietary approaches can result from ethical or religious reasons. Either way, the principles of healthy eating and balancing the different food groups are still relevant.

Certain dietary restriction means there is a possibility of nutritional deficiencies. If you are vegetarian, it is important to have sources of iron, vitamin B12 and calcium and omega fats. The NHS Choices website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] has information about vegetarian and vegan dietary approaches.

The most restrictive type of diet is veganism but, if followed correctly, it can offer a varied, balanced way of eating.


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