Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.[1][2]

Vegetarianism
DescriptionDiet derived from plants, with or without eggs and dairy
VarietiesOvo, lacto, ovo-lacto, veganism, raw veganism, fruitarianism, Buddhist vegetarianism, Jain vegetarianism, Jewish vegetarianism, Christian vegetarianism

Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, as well as animal rights advocacy. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference. There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. Avoidance of animal products may require dietary supplements to prevent deficiencies such as vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to pernicious anemia.[3][4] Psychologically, preference for vegetarian foods can be affected by one's own socio-economic status and evolutionary factors.[5][6][7]

Packaged and processed foods, such as cakes, cookies, candies, chocolate, yogurt, and marshmallows, often contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, and so may be a special concern for vegetarians due to the likelihood of such additives.[2][8] Feelings among vegetarians vary concerning these ingredients. Some vegetarians scrutinize product labels for animal-derived ingredients, such as cheese made with rennet,[8] while other vegetarians do not object to consuming them or are unaware of their presence.[2][9][10]

Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods but may include fish or poultry, or sometimes other meats, on an infrequent basis. Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define meat only as mammalian flesh and may identify with vegetarianism.[11][12] A pescetarian diet has been described as "fish but no other meat".[13]