In a very general sense, a vegetarian is
someone who doesn't eat meat. But that definition is too simple. There are
several kinds of vegetarian diets:
Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat milk products—such as milk, cheese, and yogurt—and eggs, but no
meat, poultry, seafood, or fish. "Lacto" means "milk." "Ovo" means eggs.
Lacto-vegetarians eat milk products, but not eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, or fish.
Vegans (say "VEE-guns" or "VAY-guns") are
total vegetarians. They eat only plant foods. They don't eat food that comes
from animals in any way, including milk products, eggs, honey, and gelatin
(which comes from bones and other animal tissue).
Many people are semi-vegetarian—most of the diet is vegetarian, but sometimes they may eat meat, poultry, seafood, fish, and/or eggs.
There are many reasons why
some people choose vegetarian diets:
A vegetarian diet can be healthier than other
Some people think it's wrong to use animals for
Some religions forbid eating meat.
diet can cost less than a diet that includes meat.
Eating less meat can be better for the environment, because most meat is commercially farmed.
Some people don't like the taste of meat.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this