The Collison Newsletter April 2016



                       VEGETARIAN   DIETS*   


Throughout my newsletters (, the importance of a dominantly plant-based diet for health and longevity is emphasised. This is in keeping with the philosophies and recommendations for a plant-based diet, by such eminent people as Dr Dean Ornish, Dr John McDougall and Dr Joel Fuhrman.

Types of Vegetarian Diets 

When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that excludes meat, poultry and fish. However, there are various ‘degrees’:

  • Vegan diet excludes meat, poultry, fish/sea food, eggs and dairy products and foods that contain these products. Dietary vegans (strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming all animal products. Ethical vegans are those who not only follow a vegan diet but extend their vegan philosophy into other areas of their lives and oppose the use of animals or animal products for any purpose. 
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs and foods that contain them. It allows dairy products, milk, cheese etc. 
  • Ovo-lacto vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry and fish but allows dairy products and eggs. 
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, sea food and dairy products but allows eggs. 
  • Pesco-vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs but allows fish and sea food. 
  • Semi-vegetarian diet is primarily plant-based but includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs on occasion or in small quantities. 

The following quotes about vegetarianism and a vegetarian diet are taken from a selection of my newsletters, all freely available at

  • From Acid/Alkaline Balance - The Ideal Diet”, my September 2005 newsletter:

"To maintain health and to prevent disease and to aid in recovery from existing illness, the diet should consist of 75%-80% alkaline-forming foods. This means that up to 20%-25% can come from acid-forming foods, ideally from the low or medium acid-forming foods (see the tables below). 

In general terms:

Alkaline-forming foods include most fruits, most vegetables (especially greens), some beans, lentils and some nuts.

Acid-forming foods include red meats (beef, lamb, pork), poultry, fish, dairy products (especially cheeses), most grains (especially if refined) and processed foods."

  • From If the Hunza People could Live to 100+ Years - So Can We”, my October 2006 newsletter:

"All food comes from the vegetable kingdom. Plants are food producers: animals are food users. Flesh foods are secondary or second-hand products, since all food comes originally from the vegetable kingdom. 

There is nothing necessary or desirable for human nutrition that is found in animal foods which is not in, and derived from, vegetable products.


As we well know today, all animal products are acid-forming in the body. The ideal diet aims to have 75%-80% of foods alkali-forming, and the only way to achieve this is on a dominantly vegetarian diet.


In the animal world, herbivorous or vegetarian animals are long-living: statistics show that carnivorous (flesh-eating) animals only live about one-third as long as herbivorous animals. The herbivorous animals, for example elephants, horses, camels and oxen, have a tremendous capacity for hard and prolonged work, much more so than carnivorous animals.


Endurance studies carried out, for example at Yale University, showed vegetarians, or near vegetarians, had much greater endurance in muscular activities than meat eaters."

  • From Prevention of Cancer. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention of Cancer”, my March 2008 newsletter:

“The following recommendation was made in the 537-page report on the Prevention of Cancer by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research. 

Recommendation 4.



Eat mostly foods of plant origin.



Population average consumption of non-starchy vegetables and of fruits to be at least 600g (21oz) daily.

Relatively unprocessed cereals (grains) and/or pulses (legumes), and other foods that are a natural source of dietary fibre, to contribute to a population average of at least 25g non-starch polysaccharide daily.



Eat at least five portions/servings (at least 400g or 14oz) of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and of fruits every day.

Eat relatively unprocessed cereals (grains) and/or pulses (legumes) with every meal.

Limit refined starchy foods.

People who consume starchy roots or tubers as staples also to ensure intake of sufficient non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and pulses (legumes).



An integrated approach to the evidence shows that most diets that are protective against cancer are mainly made up from foods of plant origin."

  • From Foods for Health”, my March 2009 newsletter:"

It is often stated, correctly, that we are what we eat. This IS true. However the quality of the food consumed is also vitally important, and in particular the food density. 


Green vegetables

All raw vegetables

Non starchy cooked vegetables

Fresh fruits

Beans and legumes.



Cooked starchy vegetables

Unrefined grains

Raw nuts and seeds.




Fat-free dairy

White meat and poultry (fowl)




Red meat

Refined grains (white flour, white rice)

All processed and refined foods

Full fat dairy


Refined oils

Sweets (sugary foods)

Alcohol, coffee, soft drinks (sodas).


We buy what we eat - so we are what we buy.

  • From Allium Vegetables - Daily Vegetables for Good Health”,  my September 2011 newsletter:

"The allium vegetables are an important part of flavoursome cooking, and are especially used in gourmet foods. [Common allium vegetables are onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives.] 

The fact that they have special medicinal properties is an added bonus, and their regular consumption may have significant therapeutic applications.


We are advised to eat at least five to six or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.  It would seem sensible to regularly include onions or one or more of the other allium vegetables as one of these portions each day."

  • From Red Meat Consumption and Mortality”, my September 2012 newsletter:

"Red meat IS harmful to health. Red meat is NOT good for you.

A dominantly plant-based diet leads to health and longevity."

  • From A Vegetarian Diet - How to Ensure Nutritional Adequacy”, my June 2013 newsletter:

"Health is to be found in a dominantly vegetarian diet. 

As detailed [above], a balanced vegetarian diet meets all the nutrient dietary requirements.  An absolutely strict vegan diet is to be undertaken with caution and with reference to the concerns described.


Finally, a plant-based diet is not only good for us (better health), but it is good for the planet. Not everyone needs to or wants to become a vegetarian, but reducing our dependence on meat is a good recipe for health and also for the planet. Diets dominated by plant foods are almost certainly the way of the future, as the current world food system is inequitable and unsustainable."


The following are two abstracts that further underline the importance of a vegetarian diet for health and disease prevention:

  • Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets

Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association.

J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jul;109(7):1266-82. Abstract.


"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs."

  • Vegetarian Diets: What are the Advantages

Leitzmann C1.

Forum Nutr. 2005;(57):147-56. Abstract.


"A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that wholesome vegetarian diets offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other foods of animal origin. The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher intakes of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E, carotenoids and other phytochemicals. Since vegetarians consume widely divergent diets, a differentiation between various types of vegetarian diets is necessary. Indeed, many contradictions and misunderstandings concerning vegetarianism are due to scientific data from studies without this differentiation. In the past, vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in several nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12 and A, n-3 fatty acids and iodine. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the observed deficiencies are usually due to poor meal planning. Well-balanced vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and competitive athletes. In most cases, vegetarian diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis. The reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet often go beyond health and well-being and include among others economical, ecological and social concerns. The influences of these aspects of vegetarian diets are the subject of the new field of nutritional ecology that is concerned with sustainable life styles and human development."


The choice is yours.


*Copyright 2016: The Huntly Centre.

Disclaimer: All material in the website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

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