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Which is healthier a Vegan diet or an Vegetarian diet?

I say that both are healthy if these are not taken to an extreme as most people do

I have many friends who have adopted this type of diet because they are fashionable.

And the results have been discouraging.

One of my friends with anemia, and the worst case a friend who lost the ability to heal and hemophilia for not getting the nutrients that come from the meat.

Well-planned vegetarian diets are a nutritionally healthy option and equivalent to a diet that includes meat and / or fish. But if they are performed incorrectly they can cause health problems. In Alimmenta you can count on the advice and supervision of an expert dietitian-nutritionist in vegetarian nutrition. In the following video you can see how to take a balanced vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian diets

The vegetarian diet is a dietary option that favors the consumption of foods of vegetable origin and the reduction or total elimination of foods of animal origin.

In this way we can find different types of vegetarian diets:

Ovolácteovegetariana: It is a diet that eliminates meats and fish and its derivatives and also includes foods of vegetable origin, eggs and dairy.

Ovovegetariana: Eliminates meats, fish and dairy products. The only food of animal origin of this diet are eggs.

Vegan: Only includes foods of vegetable origin.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in its opinion published in 2009 (1), well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, childhood, childhood and adolescence, as well as for athletes.

For this reason it is important to understand this dietary option and to know it. Vegetarians should pay special attention to diet planning and establish the necessary dietary modifications to meet their needs. Nutrition advice from a nutrition professional is advisable to achieve a varied and healthy diet. The diet should evaluate the contribution of specific nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and fatty acids w-3.

If the diet does not include dairy products, attention should be paid to calcium and vitamin D, and organizing it, including other plant-based foods that provide appreciable amounts of calcium and guarantee sun exposure daily.

In some situations, supplementation will be recommended to provide specific nutrients, such as vitamin B12 supplementation if you follow a vegan diet.

Food groups in the vegetarian diet

Cereal grains: They form the base of the pyramid and are the basis of food. They provide energy, complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, and group B vitamins. Whole grains also provide zinc and other minerals.

Vegetables and Fruits: There must be a good proportion of these in the diet. The food pyramid indicates more servings of vegetables than of fruit because vegetables have a higher caloric density than fruits and also phytonutrients of great importance for health. Include at least one serving a day of fruit rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, for example).

Legumes, nuts and protein-rich foods: In this group are foods that are good sources of protein, B vitamins and minerals. Includes legumes, also soybeans and soy derivatives, nuts, seeds, and their preparations, eggs and foods prepared from vegetable proteins (seitan, tempeh, for example). Dairy products are protein foods too.

Fats and fatty foods: For vegetarians it is important to ensure an adequate supply of w-3 oils, which are abundant in fish and in the vegetable kingdom can be found in nuts, seeds (sesame, flax, pips ..) and avocado. Olive oil would be the most recommended for cooking.

Foods rich in calcium: not only dairy products provide calcium, they also provide calcium for fruits and vegetables. If the diet is varied it is safer that we reach adequate levels of calcium intake. The enriched foods are a support when reaching an optimal intake.

The planning of the diet must take into account special life situations (3). For children, up to 8 years, the ration is smaller and in situations such as adolescence, pregnancy and lactation, needs increase.

We have already mentioned some protein foods of vegetable origin. Completing the list of these foods and others that can be used as condiments are the derivatives of soybeans and seeds and, in some cases, these mixed with nuts, we have:

Tempeh: Soya beans without fermented skin.

Seitan: Wheat protein (gluten).

Textured soy protein.

Tamari: Soy sauce. Its ingredients are soy, wheat and salt.

Tofu: Soy cheese. It has different textures depending on its degree of humidity (silky or soft, firm ..)

Natto: Soybean seeds fermented with a microorganism, Bacillus subtilis.

Miso: Soybean paste and rice. It is used to flavor soups and other dishes.

Gomasio: Seasoning that is prepared with roasted sesame seeds, mixed with sea salt.

Tahini: Sesame seed paste.

Algae: They provide minerals fundamentally and also proteins, vitamins and fibers.

Tips for good planning of vegetarian meals (2)

Choose a variety of foods.

The number of servings of each food group represents the minimum. You have to adjust the rations to reach the energy requirements.

Choose foods that give you calcium. Dairy, vegetable drinks enriched in calcium, tofu (obtained with calcium), broccoli, okra or okra, cabbage, spinach, kale, figs, almonds, sesame, soy beans, juices or breakfast cereals enriched. Follow the recommendations of the pyramid.

Includes foods rich in w-3 such as legumes and nuts,

flax seeds, soybean oil or canola (rapeseed). Choose healthy fat sources. Olive oil is the best option for cooking.

Nuts and seeds are a source of healthy fats, keep in mind that they are fatty foods.

Secure your sources of vitamin D, through sufficient sun exposure or through fortified foods or dietary supplements. Milk, soy and vegetable drinks, as well as breakfast cereals are often enriched in vitamin D.

Includes 3 reliable sources of vitamin B12, each of the following is 1:

1 glass (250mL) of soy or vegetable drink enriched in vitamin B12.

Half a glass (125mL) of cow's milk.

185mL of cow's milk yogurt.

1 egg size L.

30g of cereal for breakfast enriched.

Meat substitutes enriched in vitamin B12.

If you do not eat these foods on a regular basis (3 times a day), take a daily supplement of vitamin B12 with a content of 5 to 10μg or once a week with 2000μg.

If you consume alcohol or sweets in your diet, do it in moderation. Choose as a main part of your diet the foods we mentioned when talking about food groups.

I leave a link that reviews the key aspects to carry a balanced vegetarian diet:


Nutrients to pay more attention to a vegetarian diet


Contrary to what many people think, it is very easy to reach and exceed the protein needs with a vegetarian diet. The consumption of legumes, cereals or pseudocereals such as quinoa, soy derivatives such as tofu or tempeh as well as vegetable drinks and nuts will make us have a contribution of quality and variety of proteins. And in the case of diets where eggs and dairy are included, we will also add these good sources of protein.

The iron

There are many sources of vegetable iron, also called iron no emo. Although its assimilation is less than iron from meat, if we consume it in the same meal together with foods rich in vitamin C and avoid the intake of foods rich in calcium, we will improve the absorption of iron.

The calcium

In vegan diets where dairy products are not included, we can obtain this nutrient from green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach as well as white beans, kale, chickpeas, soybeans and their derivatives such as tofu. We also have vegetable drinks that are enriched with calcium that we can consume in our diet.

Along with calcium we must ensure the presence of vitamin D since it is this that regulates the passage of calcium to bone. Vitamin D is found in fats and in a vegetarian diet its main intake is in drinks enriched with this vitamin. But the best way to avoid deficiency of this vitamin is through a 30-minute daily exposure to the sun.

Omega 3 fats

Contained in blue fish, in vegetarian food we will obtain them from the consumption of olive oil, 3-4 nuts, 6-8g of crushed linen.

B12 vitamin

As we mentioned before, both the vegetarian and vegan diet must be supplemented with vitamin B12. The most convenient way to do it is through a weekly supplement of vitamin B12 with a contribution of 2000 micrograms.

Vegetarian nutrition for children

As we have said before, a vegetarian diet is valid in all stages of life. Therefore, a vegetarian diet for children is also healthy and perfectly viable. What should be well planned to be healthy? Yes, but the same goes for the feeding of a child who "eats everything".

Supplementary feeding of a vegan baby

The complementary feeding of a vegan child is very similar to that of an omnivorous baby. Up to 6 months breast milk is advised, and you can start with complementary food as the omnivores and at the time you would touch incorporate animal products, instead of incorporating meat and fish, we will give legume (first peeled), tofu, seitan, textured soy, vegetable yoghurts without sugar, nuts in cream or crushed seeds (tahina). We will introduce the food one by one, in small quantities, assessing tolerance.