Ovolactovegetarian: Definition, Origins, Key Terms, Description, Function, Benefits and Precautions

It differs from strict vegetarianism by including in the diet, apart from the proper of a vegetarian diet, dairy products and eggs.

The ovolactovegetarians, who are also known as lacto-ovovegetarians, are vegetarians who do not eat fish, poultry or red meat, but accept eggs, milk and honey as part of their diet on the basis that these foods can be obtained without killing animals.

The ovo part of the name comes from the Latin word for egg, while lacto- is derived from the Latin word for milk. In the West, ovolactovegetarians are the largest subgroup of vegetarians.

As a result, most restaurants, institutional food services, cookbooks, and prepared foods that identify themselves as “vegetarians” without further qualification are ovo-lactovegetarians.

Similarly, travelers who request special “vegetarian” meals from an airline before departing will be given ovolactovegetarian food unless they are more specific.

However, that some other cultures define the “vegetarian” differently. In Japan, for example, many people think that fish are included in a vegetarian diet.

Practitioners of Hinduism, who represent the largest group of vegetarians in the world, do not eat eggs and, therefore, follow a lactovegetarian diet.


Vegetarianism in general has existed for thousands of years, although anatomical and archaeological evidence indicates that prehistoric humans were not vegetarians.

The pattern of the human dentition (teeth adapted to tear the flesh and the grinding matter of the plant), the length of the human digestive tract and the secretion of pepsin (an enzyme that is necessary to digest meat).

For the human stomach are indications that humans evolved as omnivores, or animals that consume plant and animal matter.

Religious faith is the oldest known motive for consuming a vegetarian diet. Hinduism is the first of the world’s major religions that are known to have fostered a vegetarian lifestyle.

Beginning in the 2000s, Hinduism represents more practicing vegetarians in the world, 70 percent, than any other belief or political conviction.

However, the Hindu religion does not support ovolactovegetarianism, since observant Hindus may not eat eggs. Christians and Jews who are vegetarians for religious reasons, however, tend to be ovolactovegetarians or vegans.

The ovolactovegetarianism as practiced by most Westerners today is largely a byproduct of the movement for animal rights that began in the mid-nineteenth century.

With the formation of the first societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Vegetarian groups of the late nineteenth century began excluding meat, poultry and fish from the diet because these foods require the killing of animals, while the use of cow’s milk and chicken eggs.

Key terms


An animal whose diet consists mostly or exclusively in meat. Cats, wolves, snakes, birds of prey, frogs, sharks, spiders, seals and penguins are all carnivores.


A health professional who specializes in individual or group nutritional planning, public education in nutrition or research in food science.

To obtain a registered dietitian (RD) license in the United States, a person must complete a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related field and pass a state licensing exam. Dietitians are also called nutritionists.

Factory agriculture:

A term that refers to the application of mass production techniques taken from the industry for the raising of livestock, poultry, fish and crops. It is also known as industrial agriculture.

Lactose intolerance:

A condition in which the body does not produce enough lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose (milk sugar). Ovolactovegetarians with lactose intolerance often choose to use soy milk, almond milk or other milk substitutes as protein sources.


Vegetarian who uses milk, yogurt and cheese in addition to plant-based foods, but does not eat eggs.


An animal whose teeth and digestive tract are adapted to consume vegetable or animal matter. The term does not mean, however, that a given species consumes equal amounts of plant and animal products.

Omnivores include bears, squirrels, opossums, rats, pigs, foxes, chickens, crows, monkeys, most dogs and humans.


Vegetarian who consumes eggs and dairy products, as well as plant-based foods. The official recommended diet for Seventh-day Adventists is ovolactovegetarian.


Vegetarian who eats eggs in addition to plant-based foods, but does not use milk or other dairy products.


A protease enzyme in the gastric juices of carnivorous and omnivorous animals that breaks down the proteins found in meat. Its existence in humans is considered evidence that humans evolved as omnivores.


A vegetarian that excludes all products of animal origin from the diet, including those that can be obtained without killing the animal. Vegans are also known as strict vegetarians.

However, these groups were formed before the emergence of modern industrial agriculture, which often results in inhuman living conditions for dairy cows and egg-producing hens.

As a result, many contemporary ovo-Lactovegetarians insist on buying their eggs or dairy products from small farmers who do not use industrial breeding methods.

Description of ovolactovegetarianism

Ovolactovegetarianism entered the main medical current in 2003 when the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and dietitians from Canada (DC) jointly published ‘A new food guide for North American vegetarians’.

This document contained the first major revisions of the familiar US Department of Agriculture. UU (USDA) food pyramid (originated in 1912, modified in 1942 and 1992).

The Guide to Foods for Healthy Eating in Canada (CFGHE, originated in 1942, modified in 1992) for vegetarians.

Although the 1992 dietary guidelines were the first to consider overnutrition as a serious health problem and emphasized the importance of plant foods in the diet, they did not include guidelines for planning vegetarian diets.

The 2003 food guide borrowed the general concept of food groups from previous guidelines, but reclassified food into five groups of plants:


The basis of an ovolactovegetarian diet. Whole grains are the best, but refined grains enriched are also acceptable.

Vegetables and fruits:

ADA and DC recommend that vegetarians choose both vegetables and fruits instead of using only one or the other.

Legumes, nuts and other protein-rich foods:

Legumes include soy milk and tofu. Dairy products used by ovolactovegetarians also fall into this category, as do meat substitutes.


Ovolactovegetarians require sources of n-3 fats based on plants because they do not eat fish.

Some specific vegetarian diets

Ovolactovegetarian diets can accommodate a wide variety of regional and ethnic cuisines, as well as different philosophical or religious approaches. The following are some of the possible options:

Mediterranean diets:

The Mediterranean diets were not purely ovolactovegetarian in their origins.

However, they are easily adapted to ovolactovegetarian food choices, in fact, several European studies on the beneficial effects of vegetarian diets have been based on ovolactovegetarian modifications of the Greek and Spanish Mediterranean diets.

These diets are rich in the use of whole grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables with high fiber content, and therefore attract many people because of their wide variety of tasty foods.

Ornate diet:

Developed by a doctor to reverse the signs of heart disease, the Ornish diet has also become popular as a weight-loss program. It is a strict diet low in fat and high in fiber that excludes red meat, poultry and fish.

The Ornish diet can be used by ovolactovegetarians because it allows limited amounts of egg whites, skim milk and other low-fat dairy products.

Seventh-day Adventist Diet:

Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) have followed vegetarian diet regimens since the denomination was first organized in 1863.

The diet recommended by the General Nutrition Nutrition Council (GCNC) in the early 2000s is an ovolactovegetarian diet rich in whole-grain breads and pastas, fresh vegetables and fruits, moderate use of nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy products. , and limited use of eggs.

The church has its own professional organization for dietitians, which is affiliated with the ADA, and encourages all its members to follow the ADA guidelines for vegetarians.


Ovolactovegetarian diets are adopted by people in developed countries mainly for ethical or religious reasons rather than for economic necessity.

Another more recent reason is the growing perception that herbal diets are a form of preventive medical care for people at higher risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.

According to a survey conducted by the editors of Vegetarian Journal in 1997, 82% of respondents expressed concern about health as their main reason for becoming vegetarians, with animal rights in second place.


The long-term NIH study of Seventh-day Adventists began reporting in the 1970s and 1980s that blood pressure dropped, cardiovascular disease and stroke rates decreased, blood cholesterol levels decreased, and risk of blood pressure decreased. colon and prostate cancer.

In particular, ASDs were half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes (adult onset) as non-vegetarian Caucasians.

Although it is possible to gain weight with a diet ovolactovegetariana, most people lose weight, especially in the first months; and most vegetarians have lower body mass indexes (an important diagnostic criterion of obesity) than their meat-eating counterparts.

Several studies conducted in Germany and Austria reported in 2006 that ovolactovegetarian diets seem to decrease the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney disease, gallstones, diverticulitis and dementia, as well as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

In addition, a team of Spanish researchers reported that an ovolactovegetarian version of the traditional Spanish Mediterranean diet was effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels in younger and middle-aged subjects.


The ADA strongly recommends that people consult a registered dietitian as well as their primary care physician before beginning an ovolactovegetarian diet.

The reason for this precaution is the variety of dietary regimens that could be called ovolactovegetarian, as well as variations in height, weight, age, genetic inheritance, food preferences, activity level, geographical location and pre-existing health problems among people.

People with high blood cholesterol levels may need to limit their egg consumption as much as possible, although this type of vegetarian diet allows the use of eggs.

A nutritionist can also help design a diet that a new ovolactovegetarian will enjoy eating, in addition to obtaining adequate nutrition and other health benefits.