Barbara Hiles Mesle 5/14/2012|
When I was growing up I was taught how to hunt, fish and trap animals for food as well as being fed an omnivorous diet, but today I have found that I no longer need animals in my diet. The Vegetarian Times recently found that out of the 311 million people in the US, 7.3 million eat a vegetarian based diet and 22.8 million eat a vegetarian inclined diet. Over the past century people have begun looking into the health implications of plant based diets as a way of improving their health and increase their longevity. This research paper is intended to inform the reader of the nutrients required by a US adult, ages 18-35, and prove that a plant based diet meets those nutrient requirements. This journey began for myself over a year ago and while continue for decades to come while plant based diets began with the birth of mankind and will continue as long as we continue to live. Definitions associated with plant based diets
Vegetarianism has been around since the beginning of mankind, however as society has progressed so have plant based diets. Today the term plant based diet can be confusing because of the varying levels of animal consumption in an individual’s diet. The first definitions that will be examined are plant based foods and an omnivorous diet. Plant based foods are those foods which consist of “…fruit[s] and vegetables, nuts, natural vegetable oils, and whole grains…” (“sharecare”) An omnivorous diet is one which is based on the consumption of both animal products (red meat, poultry, fish, etc.) and plant foods. Due to the fact that plant based diets have changed and now incorporate varying levels of animal consumption there is a need to define the levels so that confusion can be avoided. The four categories of plant based diets are ovo-lacto vegetarianism, pescetarianism, lacto vegetarianism and total-vegetarianism. Ovo-lacto vegetarianism is when an individual consumes primarily plant based foods while still consuming eggs and dairy products. (Null 4) Pescetarianism is a diet which abstains from consuming land animals and birds while still consuming seafood as a support to a primarily plant based diet. (“Pescetarian Life”) Lacto vegetarianism is a diet which contains dairy products like an ovo-lacto diet except eggs are no longer consumed. A total vegetarianism diet is a one which consists of only plant foods and abstains from any animal product such as, “meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey.” (Null 4)The research presented in this will focus on a total-vegetarian diet because it allows for the least variables and is the diet which most studies use because of the limited variables. Nutrients required by the human body which are viewed by many as scarce in a plant based diet
The human body is a complex system which requires the support of nutrients which are provided by the food individual’s consume and then absorb into their bodies. In order to look at the ability of a plant based diet to support an 18-35 year old person’s nutritional needs we will first examine those most basic nutrients required by a human. This section of the paper will look at the following nutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, calcium, and vitamin B12. Carbohydrates
The term carbohydrate refers to the naturally occurring molecules which consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. This molecule is used throughout the animal kingdom as the most abundant and “…least expensive source of energy.” (Guthrie 35) The idea of being an inexpensive source of energy refers to the fact that carbohydrates are easily broken down by the human digestive system which converts them into glucose. The belief that carbohydrates present the most abundant source of energy while still being nutritious can be misleading due to the two main types of...