After having a basic idea about the types of food—- vegetarian or none vegetarian-consumed by the people of our country, let us now look into the nutritional adequacy of our day to day diets. Most people think that the vegetarian dietary pattern is nutrionally inadequate. This image is being revised in the light of recent research.
Various studies have been made to compare the nutritional adequacy of vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. These studies has shown that pure vegetarian can be well nourished. if vegatrian diet includes food from all the basic food group, thus providing sufficient energy and other essential nutrients. It has also been observed in these studies that the work performance and, endurance in vegetarian is superior to that of the meat eaters.
The Sherpas from the Himalayan region have demonstrated the adequacy of a non-flesh diet to prepare young men to endure the most severe stress on human body like extream altitude and unbearable low temperature. In addition a well balanced vegetarian diet has nutritional benifits such as a trim body and a tendency toward lower serum cholestrol.
The traditional non-vegetarian diet as followed in Indian are distinctly different from the Western non-vegetarian pattern. is a cereal preparation while in western pattern is generally a flesh food preparation. Hence, the Western non-vegetarian dieteries have an excess of protein and fats. Wastern diet are associates with degenerative diseases of heart, kidney and colon. Those who follow the traditional Indian non-vegetarian pattern do not normally have the kind of problem like obesity and heart disease associate with the Western non-vegetarian dietary patterns.
The indian dietary pattern whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian also has roughage in fairly good amounts. This is one of the major reason for the low incidence of cancer of colon in India. We can, therefore say that the Indian dietary pattern wheather vegetarian or non-vegetarian is a healthier one compared to the Western dietary pattern.
One aspect however which needs to be noted in todays context is that with globalization and increased purchasing power eating out has become fashionable leading to an increased consumption of fast food. Which is high in calories and lacks the essential nutrients. The easy available of the fast food and its frequent consumption has lead to the problem of obesity in among Asian adult and children. If this trend continues then the situation may become more worse as obesity is a risk factor for several problem like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases etc.
However, the nutritional adequacy of diet of the proper population in our country, which is of great concern. As mention earlier, their diets mainly consists of cereals and there is a lack of food which are rich is protein, vitamin and minerals. Poor purchasing power and large families are the main reason for the diets being nutritionally inadequate. Lack of education is also a major contributory factor.
Malnutrition and under nutrition are, therefore, widely prevalent among the low income group of population. Deficiency diseases like protein energy malnutrition, anaemia and vitamin A. Deficiency have therefore become the major nutritional problem of out country. The diets of these people can be improved by using suitable combination of food. And by promoting method that can be easily practised at home, like sprouting and fermentation. This improves the nutritional contents of diet without increasing the cost.