Vegetarianism certainly has its rewards but there are risks involved if you're not careful. It all depends on the kind of diet you follow.

There are three types of vegetarian diets, namely, vegan (the rare and true type) where no animal flesh or byproducts like eggs or dairy products are ...Vegetarianism certainly has its rewards but there are risks involved if you're not careful. It all depends on the kind of diet you follow.

There are three types of vegetarian diets, namely, vegan (the rare and true type) where no animal flesh or byproducts like eggs or dairy products are eaten; the ovolactovegetarian, where no animal flesh is eaten but animal products are allowed; and the semi-vegetarian, where no red meat is eaten but poultry and fish may be taken once in a while.

What are the advantages of vegetarianism? Dr. Jack Yetiv, a well-known nutrition expert, said this diet can give you:

1) Decreased risk of heart disease. Vegetarians have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than non-vegetarians. The reason behind this is that vegetarians normally have low cholesterol levels than other people. They are also less likely to be overweight and suffer from high blood pressure.

2) Better management of diabetes. Experts say a high carbohydrate intake improves diabetic control. Combined with a high fiber diet that vegetarians enjoy greatly eliminates the need for drugs in some people.

3) Decreased severity of colonic disease. Since they are high in fiber, vegetarian diets can be useful in diverticulosis (the presence of small, saclike swellings in the wall of the colon), constipation, and other colonic diseases.

4) Decreased obesity. Vegetarians are less overweight than their non-vegetarian counterparts. That's because they eat a lot of fiber which is filling but not fattening.

And now the bad news. While all three vegetarian diets have health benefits, the more restrictive vegan diet may spell trouble for some people.

"A vegetarian or fruit diet is safe as long as it provides some protein from dairy products such as cheese and milk or from fish or eggs. The reason for this is that eggs, milk, and animal flesh contain complete protein but most plant foods do not," according to Theodore Berland in Consumer Guide’s “Rating the Diets.”

Vegans are also more likely to suffer from a vitamin B12 (cobalamine) deficiency since this is found in animal foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Lack of this important vitamin may cause neurological and gastrointestinal problems.

Strict vegetarians likewise lack vitamin D which is found in fortified milk and eggs. To remedy this, they should expose themselves to sunlight for about 20 to 30 minutes daily. If not, the use of supplements is advised.

Rickets, another deficiency disease that causes deformed bones and a curved spine, has been observed in vegans. So have calcium and iron deficiencies. Children who adhere to vegetarianism tend to be smaller than omnivorous kids, Yetiv revealed.

"If you are considering vegetarianism, think twice. We human beings change habits slowly. We resist giving up the high calorie foods we have eaten all our lives. Becoming a vegetarian may take a year or so or even a decade. The speed with which you change lifelong habits depends on your motivation, your environment, and other factors over which you have some but not total control," Berland concluded.

While vegetarianism can help you lose weight, there’s no need to become one if you want to shed those extra pounds. All it takes is a good diet and exercise program. The use of supplements can also help. One popular brand is Zylorin, a safe and natural fat burner that will reshape your future. Go to http://tinyurl.com/8jkw6ma for details.

Author's Bio: 

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine www.thearticleinsiders.com.