What do we know about vegetarian diets? Here is a quiz based on the latest position paper on this topic by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
In general, vegetarians a) eat plant-based diets; b) live in Big Sur; c) do not eat animal flesh; d) may or may not eat eggs or dairy products. Answers: a,c,d.
Because my friend Michelle includes cheese and eggs in her vegetarian diet, she is a) “lacto-ovo” vegetarian; b) more fun; c) more likely to have a high intake of calcium. Answers: a, c.
Calcium is found in a) soybeans; b) spinach and kale; c) broccoli and turnips; d) dairy foods. All are correct.
According to research, vegetarian diets can be effective treatments for a) obesity; b) heart disease; c) type 2 diabetes; d) cattle rustling. Answers: a, b, c.
True or False? Vegetarian diets that include a variety of plant foods provide the same quality of protein as diets that include meat. True.
True or False? In order to get high-quality protein, vegetarians must combine incomplete proteins — such as rice and beans, peanut butter on bread, or beans with cornbread — at each meal. False. As long as a variety of plant-based foods are eaten throughout the day, the body can get what it needs to make essential proteins, say experts.
True or False? Levels of the active form of omega-3 fats known as EPA and DHA are typically low in vegans — those who avoid all animal-based products. True. EPA and DHA (found primarily in fish) are especially important when a woman is expecting and during infancy for optimal development of brains and eyes.
Vegetarians can help their bodies absorb iron from plant foods if they a) lift weights before every meal; b) eat more vitamin C-rich foods such as tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits; c) eat more beans, lentils, raisins and iron-fortified breads and cereals. Answers: b, c.
Strict vegetarians may take in less than adequate amounts of a) steak houses; b) vitamin B-12; c) zinc; d) vitamin D. Answers: b, c, d.
Vegetarians and especially vegans have a higher risk for low zinc intake than non-vegetarians because a) plant foods contain substances that interfere with the absorption of zinc; b) they need to eat more zinc than non-vegetarians; c) they are stubborn. Answer: a, b.
According to nutrition experts, children who eat vegetarian diets a) can grow as well as non-vegetarian children; b) may have low intakes of vitamin B-12, iron, zinc and calcium; c) are more likely than non-vegetarian children to eat enough fruit and vegetables. All are correct.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Email her at email@example.com .