What is a Flexitarian diet?
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
According to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report diet ranking, the Flexitarian diet ranked third after the Mediterranean and Dash diets. The Flexitarian diet is mostly plant-based but allows inclusion of meat and other animal products from time to time.
It was created by Dawn Johnson Blatner, a dietitian, who wanted to incorporate health benefits of vegetarian foods in the western diet. It is based on following principles:
- Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans/lentils) and whole grains
- Consume plant protein often (legumes, tofu, nuts and nut butter)
- Can eat meat and other animal protein foods from time to time
- Limit processed foods ( plant protein-based burgers, sausages, cold cuts)
- Avoid or limit foods high in sugar
The Flexitarian diet is a semi-vegetarian diet, high in complex carbohydrates and fibre. It has many health benefits such as prevention and management of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. However, some people may develop following nutritional deficiencies when animal protein foods are reduced: