Why do people choose to eat a vegetarian diet?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Following a vegetarian diet is a very personal decision. Besides health some of the key reasons why people decide to follow a vegetarian diet could be animal rights/compassion, environment, religion, peer pressure, political belief, popularity, etc. Regardless of the reason for choosing a vegetarian diet, it is important to ensure that it is well balanced and nutritionally varied.


There are lots of reasons people choose a vegetarian or vegan diet. I became a vegetarian in college when mystery meat showed up on the menu. I didn't like the idea of eating animals. I chose a vegan diet for my health; the more that I learned about nutrition, the more I realized I didn't want to be ingesting animal proteins. Some folks choose to eat less meat for envirnomental reasons, raising animals for food takes more resources than raising vegetable crops.
I am personally a vegetarian so I can speak to this. I became a vegetarian because of ethical reasons. I was and am against cruelty and killing of animals for food. However, I have also discovered that it to me is also healthier to eat this way. The challenge, of course, is making sure you get the protein you need. I drink a lot of protein shakes and buy vegetarian meat products such as Morningstar which tastes very good and fulfills your nutrient needs. Many people do it for the environment as well. It is a lifestyle change and takes some getting used to but I have been one for 16 years now and there is no going back.

Continue Learning about Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarian Diets

When you look at vegetarian diets, it's hard to do so without understanding that many of the practitioners believe that it is not only healthful, but more to practice vegetarianism. This is true even if the diet may include occasi...

onal meats or fish as in the Macrobiotic diet with it's Zen beliefs, or the Indian Ayurvedic diet, which finds milk and dairy central to good health along with plants. Anyone considering a vegetarian diet should learn about the food values of different vegetables, and consider getting advice on whether or not to supplement the diet with vitamins and minerals, particularly if you have special nutritional needs like growing children or pregnant or lactating women.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.