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Ovo-lacto vegetarian: what is it?

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 213 views

They do without fish and meat, but continue to use dairy products and eggs: lacto-ovo-vegetarians . This diet has numerous health benefits. Read more about lacto-ovo vegetarians and which nutrients you should pay special attention to here.

Ovo-lacto vegetarian: what is it?

Ovo-lacto vegetarianism is one of the most common forms of the meatless diet. The word “Ovo” stands for eggs, “Lacto” for milk products. This means: Ovo-lacto-vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or seafood, but dairy products and eggs are on their menu alongside plant-based foods.

Many people choose this diet for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. The advantage for ovo-lacto-vegetarians: they get enough calcium and vitamin B12 from dairy products. The latter is no longer possible with a vegan diet.

Learn more about a vegetarian diet here .

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians: What Foods Are Not Allowed?

Ovo-lacto vegetarians avoid the following foods:

  • meat
  • Fisch
  • sea ​​animals
  • animal additives in foods such as gelatin (protein from cows and pigs) or carmine (pigment from lice)

Foods Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians Eat!

A healthy lacto-ovo vegetarian diet includes the following foods:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • grain and potato
  • legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Owner
  • nuts and seeds
  • different oils

In addition, numerous vegan substitute products for meat and fish have come onto the market in recent years. However, it is worth taking a look at the packaging and the additives. They are often highly processed and contain preservatives, sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and oils, and calories. You can also buy unprocessed tofu, seitan and tempeh and season them yourself.

Read more about meat substitutes here .

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarianism: Health Benefits

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends eating a maximum of 600 grams of meat per week. In fact, the average meat consumption in Germany is significantly higher. Red and processed meat in particular, such as sausage, are suspected of promoting colon cancer.

Read how healthy meat is here .

A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet therefore has numerous advantages. Especially by avoiding meat, it helps with healthy weight loss, benefits heart health and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and gallstones.

We present the exact effects in more detail.

Prevention of type 2 diabetes

Lacto-ovo vegetarians have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is mainly due to the fact that they often deal extensively with their diet and eat healthy foods such as whole grain products, fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts. This reduces the absorption of trans fats, which are often associated with type 2 diabetes.

Whole grain products also have a high proportion of soluble fiber. This slows down digestion and allows blood sugar to rise less. As a result, the body has to release less insulin.

A vegetarian diet has also been shown to lower hemoglobin A1c. This is a marker for long-term blood sugar control.

Supports healthy weight loss

The high fiber content in vegetarian foods often prevents overeating. In addition, a predominantly plant-based diet is lower in calories.

Various studies thus show that a vegetarian diet helps prevent and reverse obesity and obesity-related diseases.

A study of 38,000 participants found that vegetarians had a lower body mass index (BMI) than meat eaters.

Positive effects on heart health

Since the consumption of red and processed meat in particular is linked to heart disease, avoiding it has a positive effect on heart health.

A plant-based diet has also been shown to improve blood flow to the heart, improve blood vessel health, and lower blood pressure—all of which reduce the risk of heart disease.

Lowers the risk of cancer

Various studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is associated with a reduced risk of various types of cancer. On the one hand, this is due to the balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. In addition, not eating meat also has a positive effect here.

Lowers the risk of gallstones

Lacto-ovo vegetarians have a lower risk of developing gallstone disease. Hard, stone-like pieces of cholesterol or bilirubin build up in the gallbladder and cause pain.

The reason for this is probably that lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat less of the negative LDL cholesterol. It’s mostly in meat.

What deficiency symptoms are possible?

While there are many health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet, there are a few things that are important to keep in mind to ensure you are getting enough nutrients. Above all, iron, protein, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids from fish and meat are missing.


Eggs, dairy products, seitan, tofu, nutmeg, legumes, and whole grains and grains (quinoa, rye) are good examples of protein foods

The bare minimum an adult should be getting in protein daily is 13 to 17 grams per day. There are about 35.6 grams in 100 grams of Parmesan, and about 28 grams in Emmental and mountain cheese. The same amount of dried wheat germ contains about 26 grams.

Learn more about protein foods here .


Iron transports oxygen in your body. Vegetarian sources of iron are

  • Tofu
  • legumes
  • wheat bran
  • pumpkin seeds
  • Amaranth
  • almonds
  • vegetables like peppers


Zinc supports growth, wound healing and a healthy immune system . Good vegetarian sources of zinc are

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • grain products

In order for the organism to absorb zinc well from plant foods, the phytate it contains must be neutralized – this is a vital substance for plants, which is required for photosynthesis, for example. In the human intestine, however, phytate significantly impedes zinc absorption.

Therefore, eat soaked, fermented, sprouted or acidified whole grains and legumes. The phytate in these products is largely degraded.

Vegetarian diet: How to reduce your meat consumption!

  • Don’t put yourself under pressure. If you find it difficult to give up meat and fish completely right away, set meat- and fish-free days first and gradually increase them.
  • Replace meat with legumes. For example, have you ever tried a lentil bolognese or chilli sin carne?
  • Cook egg dishes. An omelet with mushrooms is delicious and fills you up. Pancakes with a vegetable filling are also a great vegetarian alternative.
  • Regularly cook soups, stews and curries with legumes such as lentils, chickpeas or beans. These dishes are filling and provide many important nutrients. Tofu is also suitable as a protein-rich ingredient.

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