Démystifions le végétarisme et ses nutriments à consommer

Vegetarianism is a term that designates a diet mainly based on products of plant origin. However, there are several forms of vegetarianism: pesco-vegetarianism, ovo-vegetarianism, veganism, etc. They are generally differentiated by the type of protein consumed. Let's take a look at the most well-known types of vegetarianism and what makes them different.

The different types of vegetarianism

Flexitarianism : Flexitarians consume all foods, but seek to reduce their consumption of animal foods.

Pesco-vegetarianism : Pesco-vegetarians exclude meat and poultry from their diet, but consume fish and seafood.

Ovo-lacto-vegetarianism : Ovo-lacto-vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish and seafood from their diet, but consume eggs and dairy products.

lacto-vegetarianism : Lacto-vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish, seafood and eggs from their diet, but consume dairy products.

Ovo-vegetarianism : ovo-vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy products from their diet, but consume eggs.

veganism : Vegans only eat vegetables. Indeed, they exclude meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy products and eggs from their diet. They also do not consume honey.

Veganism : Vegans exclude all products of animal origin from their diet, but also from their way of life. For example, they do not wear woolen or leather clothing and do not consume any products tested on animals.

Nutrients to watch

The nutrients to look out for vary depending on the type of vegetarianism. Indeed, the more varied the diet, the lower the risk of nutritional deficiencies. Among the nutrients to watch out for are various vitamins, minerals and omega-3s.

Vitamins to watch out for

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is found almost exclusively in foods of animal origin. However, it is also found in certain plant-based products fortified with vitamin B12. This is particularly the case for fortified nutritional yeast and fortified vegetable drinks, such as soy or rice milk. For types of vegetarianism that include meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, or dairy products on a daily basis, vitamin B12 deficiencies are generally not a concern. For individuals who consume enough products fortified with vitamin B12 on a daily basis, deficiencies are also not an issue. However, if the quantities consumed are insufficient, it is also possible to take a supplement to meet vitamin B12 needs. (you can find some in theTotal Defense by ATP Lab)

Vitamin D

In general, there are few foods that contain vitamin D. The best sources of this vitamin are fortified milk and fortified vegetable drinks. Additionally, the body can also produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. However, in Canada, sufficient sunlight to produce this vitamin is not available year-round. Therefore, from October to April, it is recommended to take a supplement to meet vitamin D needs, regardless of diet. (You can get it in its spray form, which absorbs very well:Vitamin D3 from ATP Lab)

Minerals to watch out for

The iron

Many plant foods contain iron. Some of the best sources include legumes, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. However, the absorption rate of plant-derived iron is much lower than that of animal-derived iron. To maximize its absorption, it is recommended to accompany it with a source of vitamin C, which is mainly found in fruits and vegetables.


For vegetarians who consume dairy products on a daily basis, calcium needs should be met, since these products are good sources of this mineral. However, in the plant kingdom, there are other good sources of calcium. These include almonds, edamame, kale, bok choy and white beans. There are also products fortified with calcium, such as vegetable drinks and tofu prepared with calcium sulphate. (also available in Total Defense from ATP Lab).


The best sources of zinc are generally high-protein foods like meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. However, for vegetarians who don't consume these foods, zinc is also found in legumes, nuts , tofu, tempeh, dairy products and eggs. (Available in theSynerZinc from ATP Lab)


Sources of iodine include fish, seafood, and dairy products. However, for vegetarians who do not consume these products, there are few plant-based foods that contain iodine. Therefore, the easiest way to meet the needs of these vegetarians is to use a little iodized salt. In fact, only 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) is enough to meet the daily iodine needs. (Also available in ATP Lab's Total Defense)


Sources of omega-3s include fish, seafood, nuts, vegetable oils, and some fortified products like eggs and milk. However, fish and seafood are the best sources of omega-3s. For flexitarians and pesco-vegetarians who consume it on a regular basis, omega-3 deficiencies are generally not an issue. However, for individuals who do not eat fish or seafood every week or exclude them from their diet, it is recommended to eat plant-based omega-3s daily to meet their needs. The best plant sources of omega-3s include walnuts, canola oil, and ground flaxseeds. (see CollectionOmega 3)


Despite the fact that there are certain nutrients to look out for when observing a vegetarian diet, it is entirely possible to be a vegetarian and eat a healthy diet that meets daily nutritional needs. Finally, if you wish to obtain help or be accompanied in your approach, it is possible to consult a health professional or a dietitian who can provide you with more information and offer you personalized service according to your needs.



  1. https://nutrition.umontreal.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2019/11/Viens-manger_v%C3%A9g%C3%A9tarisme.pdf
  2. https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vegetarianism/What-you-need-to-know-about-planning-d%E2%80%99-a-diet- vegetarian-healthy.aspx
  3. https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vegetarianism/Four-steps-to-take-to-have-a-vegan-diet-balance.aspx

Article written by:

Marie-Noël Marsan, Nutritionist


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