Ovo-lacto vegetarians

Ovo-lacto Vegetarianism



 What is ovo-lacto vegetarianism?

Ovo-lacto vegetarianism is by far the most common form of vegetarianism adopted by vegetarians. Basically, an ovo-lacto vegetarian’s diet must not include poultry, meat or fish, but can consist of eggs and dairy products. Additionally, they are allowed to consume certain animal derived ingredients, such as gelatin and bonemeal, however, most of them do not do so.


As the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet excludes the least number of food items from a normal omnivorous human’s diet, it becomes a popular choice for most people wanting to convert to a vegetarian’s diet, as it is the easiest to adapt to and lacks the least amount of nutrients as compared to the other forms of vegetarianism. Apart from the ease of adaptation to the diet, it is also worth to be noted that major religions with a sizable number of followers also adopt this form of vegetarianism, especially since the diet complements their religious views perfectly. Examples of such religions or religious groups include Hinduism, Seventh Day Adventists and Yi Guan Dao followers.


Although being the form of vegetarianism with supposedly the least lack of nutrition, ovo-lacto vegetarians still lack certain vitamins and nutrients, albeit to a lesser extent compared to other forms of vegetarianism. For the ovo-lacto vegetarians, they do run a risk of lacking vitamins and nutrients such as the following:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: As majority of the Omega-3 fatty acids are obtained through consumption of fish or fish oils, ovo-lacto vegetarians naturally lack this as they already exclude fish from their diet.
  • Iron: Iron can be split into two types, mainly the heme iron and the non-heme iron, which are obtained from animal based foods and plant based foods respectively. The main difference is that heme iron is much more easily absorbed by the human body as compared to non-heme iron, and as a result ovo-lacto vegetarians may risk developing the condition of iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Zinc: Zinc deficiency is a natural cause for concern as meats are the main source of zinc, and it goes without saying that vegetarians will definitely need to make up for the loss of zinc which would otherwise be supplied through meat consumption.

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