What is a Lacto Vegetarian?
Lacto-vegetarians do not eat eggs, but they do eat dairy products. In other words, a lacto-vegetarian diet includes all plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains and beans, as well as dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, cheese from cows, sheep and goats as well as butter and any other products made from these foods such as ice cream.
In other words, a lacto-vegetarian is a diet which is “vegan plus dairy.”
A lacto vegetarian diet would include foods such as vegetarian cheese pizza, bean and cheese burritos, vegetable curries, grilled cheese sandwiches, while excluding scrambled eggs, omelets, and other foods containing eggs such as mayonnaise, egg noodles, egg whites, and meringue.
Here are a few reasons why a lacto vegetarian diet is beneficial:
- Vegetarian cuisine is naturally low in saturated fats, and foods of plant origin contain little or no cholesterol.
- Plant foods are also higher in fiber, while animal based foods contain no fiber.
- Many plant foods contain significant amounts of vital B-vitamins and folic acid: and fruits and vegetables are powerful sources of phytochemicals – nutrients that help every organ of the body work better and help prevent cancer and various infections.
- Vegetarians tend to eat fewer calories, since grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, volume-for-volume, tend to be lower in calories than meat and poultry. Studies have shown that as long as a diet is balanced and nutritious, the people who consume fewer total daily calories live longer and healthier lives.
- Foods from plant sources, which are lower on the food chain, are safer than animal foods, since pollutants (think pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, etc.) tend to concentrate in fatty tissues. While raw fruits and vegetables can carry harmful bacteria and pesticide residues just like meat, many of these pollutants can be removed by washing the plant foods or buying organic. (See EWG.org for the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables that tend to be high in pesticides and should be eaten organic.) Trimming the fat from meat or chicken is less effective. Meat, poultry, and seafood are also more frequent carriers of foodborne illnesses than plant sources.
- Environmental conservationists state that eating a more plant-based diet is healthier for the planet. This diet requires less energy in its production and less farmland to feed a vegetarian than it does to feed livestock.