Mark L. Meyer MD,

 F.A.C.P., F.A.C.C.

One of the most important factors in choosing a diet is how you feel while you're on it and whether you will be able to maintain it for the long term. Elite athletes are often looked to for the diets that allow them to perform at such high levels. Though most of us will not try to match a world class cyclist's 20,000 calorie-a-day diet, it is still beneficial to see what (beyond carbohydrates) comprises these 20,000 calories. we must all craft a regimen for ourselves that gives us the energy, stamina, and quality of life benefits that we are looking for.  There was a time where that meant steak and potatoes and other foods that we considered conducive to high-energy and muscle-building. Today? Not so much. Meet Yuri Foreman, the former WBC super welterweight world champion who currently lives and competes solely on a vegan diet. So much for the beef,... and presently, we have the benefit of many years of sustained research that have been able to corroborate what Yuri already knows and realizes every day. The evidence is clear and it exists both locally and globally.

 

Some of the differing types of plant-based eating regimens are below:

  • Veganism: diet of vegetables, legumes, fruit, grains, nuts, and seeds, but no food from animal sources.

  • Fruitarianism: vegan diet consisting primarily of fruit.

  • Raw veganism: vegan diet in which food is uncooked and sometimes dehydrated.

  • Vegetarianism: diet of vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, etc., that may include eggs and dairy, but no meat.

  • Ovo-lacto vegetarianism: includes dairy and eggs

  • Ovo vegetarianism: includes eggs but no dairy

  • Lacto vegetarianism: includes dairy but no eggs

  • Semi-vegetarianism: mostly vegetarian diet with occasional inclusion of meat and/or poultry.

  • Macrobiotic diet: semi-vegetarian diet that highlights whole grains, vegetables, beans, miso soup, sea vegetables, and traditionally or naturally processed foods, with or without seafood and other animal products.

  • Pescatarian: semi-vegetarian diet with eggs, dairy and seafood.
     

Studies indicate that the benefits of a plant-based eating regimen range from better energy levels, weight loss to a reduction in the risks of chronic diseases and especially diabetes. There has been recent data to support the idea that plant-based regimens may reduce adverse cardiovascular events. The phrase "plant-based diet" most strictly refers to vegan diets, which contain no food from any animal sources. This phrase may also be used to reference vegetarian diets which include eggs and dairy but no meat.