Nutrients: The Vegetarian Advantage Essay

“Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications” by Brenda C. Davis & Penny M. Kris-Etherton

            One health issue that concerns the vegetarian diet is the lack of essential fatty acids or EFA, particularly the long-chain n-3 fatty acids, in the kinds of food that vegans consume. Vegetarian diets are scientifically known to contain lesser composition of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol that are known to cause various serious illnesses or diseases when consumed and stored in the body in large amounts, making this particular diet seemingly advantageous over non-vegetarian diets. Although this is the case, reviewing the EFA components of the vegetarian diet and understanding the health benefits of the consumption and build-up of EFA inside the body make the vegetarian diet less impressive than non-vegetarian diets. Apparently, the low amounts of n-3 fatty acids slows down the formation of eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaaenoic acid or DHA that are essential in stabilizing the physiological make-up of human beings. DHA is useful in stabilizing the grey matter in the brain, the retina inside the eyes, and cell membranes that protect the inner components of the cell. The decreased number of DHA is known to lead to neurological disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. EPA, on the other hand, is a regulated source of eicosanoids decreasing the possibility of increase in blood pressure, inflammation, and thrombosis.

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            For these reasons, the need for vegans to increase intake of n-3 fatty acids that contribute to the build-up of helpful EPA and DHA has been established suggesting the need for them to modify their diets in order to address this health issue. I agree at this point, that there is clearly a need to modify the vegetarian diet in order to incorporate this health issue recommending increasing intake of n-3 fatty acids. However, since the vegetarian diet is known to contain less total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol which is evidently healthful and beneficial to the body, perhaps vegans should find a way to identify healthy sources of n-3 fatty acids that do not obstruct the healthy structure of the vegetarian diet, but at the same time adhere to the require n-3 fatty acid intake of individuals since this compound is also physiologically beneficial.

“Type 2 diabetes and the vegetarian diet1-4” by David JA Jenkins, et.al

            One of the many advantages of the vegetarian diet is its contribution in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. From various cohort studies conducted in the past, professionals have determined how the structure of the vegetarian diet helps glycemic control for individuals who are diabetic as well as insulin-dependent, particularly the consumption of whole-grain, processed cereals, and legumes. In more specific cohort studies that look into one of the main components of the vegetarian diet – that is, whole grains – it has been found out that the results of long-term whole grain consumption of individuals is the decreased risk of contracting type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. Other components of the vegetarian diet that have been proven to be extremely beneficial to the health and wellbeing of individuals include nuts, viscous fibers, soy proteins, and plant serols. These food products help avoid the onset of cardiovascular disease which is known to gradually lead to diabetes. Overall, the components of the vegetarian diet contribute to reducing an individual’s risk of contracting diabetes due to its ability to stabilize carbohydrates and lipids inside the body. Diabetes is known as a condition fuelled by the irregularities of carbohydrate and lipid components of an individual’s physical make-up.

            Since the research study have discussed the lack of other research studies in the past and present that disregard the issue of weight loss in determining treatments of diabetes, as well as the contributions of the vegetarian diet in decreasing risks of individual’s in contracting diabetes, I would have to agree with the researchers that there is a need to widen the scope of the study by eliminating weight-loss factors. Past and present research studies have concentrated on the interaction of weight-loss, the vegetarian diet, and diabetes, which limit the studies since the coverage is only on foods that promote weight loss. The implication of this is that researchers might be missing out on other food beneficial and contributive foods constituting the vegetarian diet which might even overshadow the findings of present studies, establishing long-term and forceful resolutions to diabetes and diabetes prevention.