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Understanding The Vegetarian Diet - Types of Vegetarians

Maryam Malekian • MS, Registered Dietitian • Feb 26, 2013

You might think that vegetarians have one simple rule and that is not to eat meat.  But, in fact, there are several different types of vegetarians and what foods are included or excluded from their meal plans.  Being sensitive to the various types of vegetarian diets will help you guide children to healthy food choices that provide all the nutrition and nourishment their bodies need while respecting their customs and lifestyle choices.


Types of Vegetarian Diets


A vegan eat a diet which excludes meat, egg, dairy, and all other animal-derived ingredients. Majority of vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool. This kind of vegetarian must consume adequate amount of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 to avoid nutrition deficiencies. 

Lacto Vegetarians

A lacto-vegetarian follows a vegetarian diet that eliminates eggs but consume dairy product. In order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiencies, it is recommended that Lacto-vegetarians consume rich dietary sources of vitamin B12 on a daily basis.  

Lacto Ovo Vegetarians

A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats no animal ingredients but does consume dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian. This type of vegetarians must consume adequate amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin D, riboflavin, iron, protein and zinc to avoid deficiencies.


Semi-vegetarians limit their intake of animal products but do allow specific kinds of meat in their diet. Semi-vegetarians who consume a varied and balanced diet of nutritious food do not have to worry about nutrient deficiencies related to other types of vegetarianism.
 types of vegetarian diets
Semi-vegetarians include:                                    
  • Pesco Vegetarians: Allow fish in their vegetarian diet. 
  • Pollo Vegetarians: Eat a mainly plant-based diet and they also allow poultry to be consumed. This includes: Chicken, Duck, and Turkey.

Raw Vegetarian

Raw vegetarians don't heat up their food above 115 degrees Fahrenheit because they consider the cooking process kills important enzymes. This diet mostly includes: fruits, raw vegetables, nuts and seeds. 


Fruitarians only consume fruits, seeds, nuts, and fruit-like vegetables and are in fact a type of vegan diet. It consists of a least amount of processed or cooked foods. Some fruitarians only eat fruit harvested without killing or harming the plant. This includes foods like: avocados, cucumbers, nuts, tomato, and squash. 


Read  How to Keep Your Vegan or Vegetarian Child Healthy



See All Our Nutrition Articles


Written by Maryam MalekianWritten on Feb 26, 2013Last updated on Oct 31, 2015




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