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theory and practice of eating only fruits and vegetables, thus excluding animal flesh, fish, or fowl and often butter, eggs, and milk. In a strict vegetarian, or vegan, diet (i.e., one that excludes all animal products), the nine amino acids that must be supplied by the diet can be obtained by eating foods that include both grains and legumes (e.g., beans or tofu) at any point during the day. Vitamins B12 and D can be obtained through supplements or the addition of a cup of nonfat milk or yogurt to the daily diet. Ovolactovegetarians obtain complete proteins by including milk, cheese, and eggs in their diets.

The basis of the practice of vegetarianism may be religious or ethical, economic, or nutritional, and its followers differ as to strictness of observance. Certain Hindu and Buddhist sects are vegetarian, as are Seventh-day Adventists. As a general movement vegetarianism arose about the middle of the 19th cent.; it made considerable progress in Great Britain and in the United States. In the contemporary United States, vegetarianism has gained acceptance as a practice that lowers one's risk for the "diseases of affluence," e.g., high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.


See C. Spencer, A History of Vegetarianism (1995); T. Stuart The Bloodless Revolution (2007).



(Russian, vegetarianstvo), a system of nutrition that excludes from the diet all products of animal origin, including fish and poultry. Followers of vegetarianism consider only vegetable food to be natural nutrition for humans. Some vegetarians (“old vegetarians”) use plant products only in raw form in their diet, others use them also in broiled or cooked form, and the “young vegetarians” include milk products and eggs along with vegetable foods. Nutrition recommended by the “young vegetarians” covers all body requirements for nutritional elements and is, therefore, entirely acceptable from a physiological standpoint.

Vegetarianism became widespread in Europe in the first half of the 19th century, especially in countries where vegetable foods, including fruits, were the foods most readily available to wide sections of the population; in Russia it came into use somewhat later and primarily among various religious sects (Dukhobors, Beloriztsy, and “svobodniki,” among others) and certain strata of the intelligentsia (especially Tolstoyans). Vegetarianism has not become widespread in the USSR. Contemporary nutritional science, based on the researches of physiology and biochemistry, recommends a mixed diet (vegetable and animal products). Foods of animal origin contain complex amino acids which are very important for the life processes of the human body. In order to meet the body’s physiological requirement for protein with plant foods only, a greater quantity of these foods are necessary; overloading the digestive organs with plant foods may cause a number of disturbances and even chronic illnesses. Moreover, vegetable protein is assimilated considerably more poorly than animal protein. Thus, about 48-70 percent of the protein of black bread is assimilated, 60-68 percent of that of potato, 60-70 percent of that of buckwheat groats, and 50 percent of that of millet, whereas up to 98 percent of the protein of meat, fish, eggs, and milk is assimilated, Animal products (milk, eggs, meat, liver, fatty fish) contain vitamins A, B, among others. However, physiological requirements for carbohydrates, fats, mineral salts, and vitamins may also be supplied by vegetable foods, even under conditions of increased muscular exertion, such as active sports.

A vegetarian diet is used for therapeutic purposes in certain illnesses, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, acute and chronic kidney diseases, uric acid diathesis, and gout. In such cases it is beneficial to add milk and eggs to the diet. A temporary transfer to a vegetarian diet is effected gradually, since rapid transfer may cause severe weakness and a depressed state.


Pevzner, M. I. “Znachenie ovoshchei i fruktov v pitanii.” Trudy kliniki lechebnogo pitaniia, 1940, vol. 1.
Pokrovskii, A. A. “Fiziologo-biokhimicheskie aspekty pitaniia i pishchevaia promyshlennost’ ” Prikladnaia biokhimiia i mikrobiologiia, 1967, vol. 3, issue 5.


References in periodicals archive ?
They conclude, "Thus a patient's personal taste and cultural traditions may need to dictate whether a vegan diet is the ideal choice for medical nutrition therapy.
Heather, whose daughter is also on a vegan diet said: "Veganism is fantastic for a number of health issues.
Levin said that for her, the most challenging part of converting to a vegan diet was making the decision to give up dairy.
Because vegan women did not show an age-related decline in ultrasound attenuation, the researchers speculated that the vegan diet may actually benefit bone health.
The study reportedly demonstrated that a low-fat vegan diet was easier for participants to follow and stick with than the ADA diet and helps to control cholesterol more effectively.
What to do: If you've decided not to undergo conventional treatment for early prostate cancer, you might consider a very-low-fat vegan diet, exercise, and stress management.
Unless you're on a restricted eating regimen such as a vegan diet, this is not hard to achieve--most carnivores don't need to go looking for protein.
However this is a lot more on offer than people think and a vegan diet is very well varied.
A vegan diet has no animal products, so recipes cannot use such mainstays (especially for vegetarians) as eggs, milk, and cheese.
The BBC could easily encourage better children's nutrition by only endorsing healthier plant-based vegan foods as part of a varied and balanced vegan diet.
Eventually she cured herself, mainly by changes to her diet, opting for a vegan diet and cut out all dairy produce.
Some people just aren't meant to live a vegan diet, and if anyone starts to feel ill on it, they should either see a nutritionist or give up.