Flexitarian Diet

When it comes to nutrition and diet, new nutrition trends and diet models are emerging every day. Some of these models are frequently applied, while others create question marks in the minds.

Flexitarian diet; It is one of the nutrition trends that we have just heard of, and may become the diet of the future. How is it applied, for which individuals it is particularly suitable, what should its content be? In this article, I wrote all the questions and things to know about the ‘flexitarian diet’ from the eyes of an expert.

The word ‘flexitarian’ is formed by a combination of the English words ‘flexible’ and ‘vegetarian’. As the name suggests, the ‘flexitarian diet’ is based on vegetarianism. The most important point on which this nutrition model is based; limited consumption of foods of animal origin. It is a sustainable and environmentally friendly diet with a plant-based diet.

The flexitarian diet, which is in the 3rd place in the most favorite popular diets of 2020, is a nutrition model that can be considered flexible because it does not have strict rules.

How is it applied?

There are no forbidden foods in the flexitarian diet model. For this reason, it is a type of nutrition that can be made into a lifestyle. Since it is a plant-based nutrition plan; Consumption of food of animal origin is included for a maximum of 2-3 days a week. Processed foods are avoided. Orientation towards natural foods takes place.

Who Can Apply?

The flexitarian diet is a nutritional model that can be applied by anyone who fits their lifestyle. It will be of extra benefit, especially for individuals with high cholesterol and coronary artery problems. A dietitian should be consulted before the application.

Foods with Increased Consumption in the Flexitarian Diet Model

  • whole grains

  • Legumes (Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, beans, etc.)

  • Vegetables

  • Fruits

  • Oily seeds

  • Sources of healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado

  • Herbal milks

  • Egg

Foods Consumption Restricted in the Flexitarian Diet Model

  • Animal-derived proteins such as meat, chicken, fish, turkey

  • Seafood (mussels, octopus, lobster, etc.)

  • Animal-derived fats such as butter, margarine, lard

  • Processed delicatessen products (sausage, sausage, salami, etc.)

  • All kinds of packaged foods (cakes, cookies, candies, etc.) and beverages containing refined sugar

  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, croissants, bagels, white rice, etc.)

  • Fast food (burgers, french fries, milkshakes etc.)

Moderate levels of alcohol can be consumed. This level; maximum 1 measure per day for women, maximum 2 measures per day for men.

Positive and Negative Effects of the Flexitarian Diet on Health

Supports Heart Health: Limiting the consumption of foods of animal origin, therefore, less saturated fat and cholesterol intake significantly supports heart health. It helps protect individuals from coronary diseases.

May Be Effective in Weight Loss: Since it provides plant-based nutrition, it minimizes the risk of obesity and related health problems. Increasing the consumption of whole grains and fruits and vegetables in a balanced way is supportive in weight control.

Keeps Insulin Resistance Under Control: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced as a result of increasing whole grains and reducing the consumption of processed food and refined sugar.

Protects From Cancer: It helps to prevent the development of many cancers, especially colon cancer, as it provides adequate fiber and antioxidant intake.

It is Sustainable and Environmentalist: It is important in maintaining the ecological balance because it is plant-based. As a result of the decrease in the consumption of foods of animal origin, the use of land, water and energy in the world decreases. It also contributes to the protection of natural resources by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The point to be considered in the flexitarian diet model is; It is the elimination of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may occur. Nutrient deficiencies such as Vitamin B12, iron, calcium, zinc and omega-3 can be seen. For this reason, nutritional support can be taken in the presence of a specialist. Omega-3 deficiency can be eliminated with alternative foods (flaxseed, chia, walnuts).

Meal Examples

Breakfast; It can be fruit porridge made with plant-based milk, whole grain and cheese toast or sandwich. Salads with olive oil and plenty of greens with added oil seeds; Preferred seasonal vegetables or legumes, vegetable soups can be consumed as meals.

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