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I have a friend that says he’s a vegetarian because vegetarian diets are balanced and low in calories. Do you agree? Can you live on a vegetarian diet?

It’s mostly a personal choice that your friend has made. Any diet that balances the macronutrients of protein, fat, and carbohydrate and meets a person’s caloric need is a good diet, especially when coupled with a consistent exercise program. It doesn’t matter if you wish to follow a diet that includes meats and dairy products or one that is vegetarian or vegan. What matters is the balance of macronutrients and the quality of ingredients. There are great choices and poor choices in any diet. There are many foods that can be found in a vegetarian diet that contain high levels of fats, sugars and salts just as you could find in a non-vegetarian diet. Some examples are fried foods, salad dressings, processed chesses, crackers, cookies, candies, chips and prepackaged meatless dinners and pizzas. Too many calories and not enough activity can sabotage anyone’s efforts to be healthy no matter what type of diet you wish to follow.