Alternative diets are booming – but who actually eats what?

Vegetarian, vegan or even flexeatric are all terms for alternative diets. But what is really behind it?

Who eats what – demanded alternative diet

Of course, one knows that in a vegetarian diet, the renunciation of meat, fish and foods made from it, such as sausage or ham, in the foreground, but, so the Dr.. Nutritionist Dr. Annette Neubert , there are already different manifestations in the vegetarian diet, where the food selection always varies slightly. These include, for example, ovo-lacto-vegetarians, flexitarians or pescetarians , who opt for one of these diets for different reasons.

Enjoy meatless – nothing new

Already millions of years ago, people were vegetarian, because meat was a very scarce commodity. Also religious reasons contribute to it – for example the belief in the rebirth in Asian religions or the renouncement of pork in the Islam. In addition, ethical, ecological and health aspects are the motives for a meatless diet. Especially more and more younger people today renounce meat. “According to recent research, the number of vegetarians has increased in Germany in recent years. As a result, about 7.6 percent of the population eat vegetarian foods, “explains Dr. Annette Neubert. “The Vegetarian Federation Germany assumes about ten percent.”

From ovo-lacto to flexitarian

Ovo lacto vegetarians are the vegetarians who consume milk, dairy products and eggs. If you omit another food group, either the term ovo for eggs or lacto for milk is omitted. In addition to these common forms, there are still semi-vegetarians who avoid red meat, but eat poultry or Pescetarians, with fish and seafood on the menu. On the other hand, so-called pudding vegetarians feed themselves unbalanced and simply leave out meat and sausages. Flexitarians – also known as part-time vegetarians – do not completely abstain from meat, but deliberately restrict their consumption. For them, the quality of the meat and the keeping conditions of the animals in the foreground.

Vegans – without any animal

No meat, no fish, no milk, no eggs, no honey: vegans remove all animal foods from their diet. Even though only around one percent of people in Germany eat vegan, interest in it is increasing – often for ethical reasons. For some people, to live vegan means to completely dispense with products made from animal materials, such as leather shoes or woolen clothing. In a purely vegan diet, it should be noted that the general absence of animal foods can often lead to a lack of specific nutrients. “Amongst other things, vegan vitamin B12, calcium, iron, iodine and protein are among the potentially critical nutrients. For example, vitamin B12 occurs almost exclusively in animal foods. For calcium, milk and dairy products are particularly important nutrient sources. On the other hand, the iron intake is often high, but due to the poorer availability of iron and the iron-binding properties of some plant food constituents, the intake into the body is still too low “, explains nutritionist Dr. med. Annette Neubert. “An adequate supply of all relevant nutrients can usually be ensured only by dietary supplements or enriched products. Therefore, a vegan diet especially for infants and children in growth is not recommended. “In addition to the classic vegans, however, there are still extreme diets. These include, among others, the so-called Frutarier. They only consume fruit that naturally falls from the tree or shrub.

Trend: veggie food

The trend towards a meatless diet is also becoming increasingly clear in the supermarket. Whether it’s vegetarian soya sandwiches or oatmeal or almond milk substitute drinks, there is an eclectic range of herbal alternatives to animal foods. However, these are not always clearly labeled, even if apparently only vegetable ingredients were used. Individual ingredients, such as the cheese lab, may be of animal or vegetable origin. There are no legal regulations yet. To be sure, this can usually be requested from the manufacturer.

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