Ovo-Vegetarian Diet: A Complete Guide and Meal Plan?
How to Start,Benefits,Risks
Ovo-vegetarian diet is a vegetarian diet that includes eggs but no dairy products. Vegetarians who eat ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, which includes dairy products and eggs, are known as lacto vegetarians.
Some people eat both egg and dairy products but avoid meat, seafood or poultry. It has been observed that vegetarian diets are healthier compared to non-vegetarian diets. Vegetarian diets have been associated with lower blood cholesterol levels, reduced risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.
This includes reduced total cholesterol levels , low density lipoprotein(LDL) cholesterol-lowering effect of plant foods in the whole diet , reduction in blood pressure and reduced risk of mortality from ischemic heart disease. Compared to a Western diet, a vegetarian diets have been associated with a better lipid profile.
These findings were initially based on self-reported intake of foods that may have been inaccurately estimated and now have been confirmed using objective biomarkers such as serum cholesterol concentrations, blood pressure, body mass index(BMI), glycemic control in diabetics etc.
In studies conducted so far effects of ovo-vegetarian diet on cardiovascular risk factors have shown conflicting results . Variations in study design including dietary pattern under consideration, population characteristics , adherence rates to the diets , duration of intervention and outcome measurements could be responsible for these variations.
Effects of plant protein foods compared to animal protein foods on blood lipid levels have been attributed to their low saturated fatty acid content, presence of fiber , lower food glycemic index etc.
The risk factors evaluated in majority of these studies included blood pressure,lipid profiles(total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides), insulin resistance , glucose metabolism variables (fasting plasma glucose concentration or oral glucose tolerance test results).
Active intervention component of the study design has shown more significant improvements in some outcomes than observational methods. Intervention periods ranged from 3 months to 18 months .
Majority of the studies were conducted among healthy individuals but few of them tested benefits of vegetarian diets in hyperlipidemic subjects. Reviews that relied on published articles only found no effect of various plant protein sources on LDL-cholesterol concentrations.
Of the limited data available from randomized controlled studies, most showed that ovo-vegetarian diets lowered LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared to non vegetarian diets . It has been shown that higher intakes of plant protein sources reduce LDL cholesterol by 5% with substitution of plant for animal protein foods. This association is present across different types of populations and all major ethnic groups including white Americans , African Americans , Chinese etc.
Lacto Ovo vegetarian diet for athletes:
They always say that you are what you eat, but it’s even more true for athletes. What we put in our body to fuel high performance training and recovery is essential to optimal athletic function.
We all know that certain foods help us train harder and others that let us recover faster, but if your diet is off kilter, neither of these things will be possible. Most professional athletes have a strict regimen on what they put in their body, vegetarianism included. It seems odd at first, but once you look into the science behind it, it becomes clear why some top sportspeople have adopted this lifestyle choice.
A vegetarian diet can come in several forms including veganism which means no animal products whatsoever, or lacto-ovo which allows for dairy and egg consumption. Vegetarian diets have been shown to provide the same, if not better, levels of protein compared to a meat-based diet.
For example, there was a study that showed vegetarian athletes had greater muscle mass when compared to non-vegetarian counterparts
1200 calorie lacto ovo vegetarian diet:
1 bowl of fruit salad with yogurt 1 serving of cereal 2 slices of toast 1 slice of toasted bread
150g cooked brown rice served with an omelette made from two eggs, chopped vegetables and sauce 100g baked beans on toast 1-2 wholemeal pita breads filled with salad greens ½ avocado drizzled in lemon juice
1 apple, banana or orange.
Salad bar at the restaurant. Choose two low calorie items from the following: grains/beans/legumes, raw green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, carrots or celery sticks. Add fresh fruit for dessert. Grilled vegetable skewers are permitted as well as any steamed or sautéed non-starchy vegetables.
1 cup fat free milk 1 cup of yogurt 150g can of tuna in water 50-100g fruit such as bananas, apples and oranges 12 almonds
2 cups popcorn Vegetable juice (carrot, celery, tomato)
1 cup of fruit salad Handful of dried fruits (apples, figs, apricots etc.)
250g 275ml carton fat-free yogurt with 1 tablespoon flax seed oil.
Selection of fresh fruit and vegetables including up to 3 servings each of beans/legumes or starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or winter squash.
. This is down mainly to a higher intake of amino acids in a vegetarian diet. These are used by the body to build bigger muscles, and when the balance is shifted from meat-eating towards plant sources, this happens naturally.
. Iron is another nutrient that should be monitored closely by those adopting a vegetarian diet. Iron binds to the heme molecule which is found in meat products and this form is much easier for the body to absorb
. If you are not eating animal products you will need to seek out other foodstuffs high in iron like legumes and leafy greens to make sure your levels are sufficient. Even if you opt for a vegan diet, there is some evidence that suggests eating Vitamin C rich foods with iron sources can help improve their absorption
.Lastly, it’s essential to remember that the food you put into your body needs to be balanced. A meat-free diet will lack things like creatine which is found naturally in red meats and has been shown to increase athletic performance by up to 15%.
 so supplementing this would be beneficial. Looking at what athletes have adopted as their dietary staples is a good start when figuring out how to optimise your own intake of vegetables and plant-based proteins.
If you choose wisely, vegetarianism can offer many benefits for athletes looking for that extra edge.