Background. Plant food lacks vitamin B 12 , vitamin D and higher n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Essential
aminoacids methionine and lysine can be found in significantly lower amounts. On the contrary, the culinary and
technologically non-processed plant food and whole-grain products contain essential nutrients in a highly condensed
form. The aim of the study was to compare nutritional status of adults on alternative or on traditional diet and sequels
of the diet to body metabolism.
Methods and Results. The group on alternative diet consisted of 89 lacto-ovo-vegetarians (age 38.7±0.6 years,
average duration of vegetarianism 7.8 years). Control group on traditional diet (omnivores, n=84) was formed as an
average sample. Nutritional regime was determined using dietetic questionnaire on the food intake regularity.
Vegetarians consume optimal amount of fat (along with recommendations of OVD) with predominance of vegetal
lipids. They have low intake of cholesterol (62.8 mg), recommended ratio of saturated fatty acids (SFA), monoun-
saturated (MUFA), and polyunsaturated (PUFA) 6.5:10.6:8.9 energetic percent. Their ratio of linolic:-linolenic
acid (10.4:1) also corresponds with recommendations. In traditional diet, the content of lipids and energy usually
exceeds the norm of OVD (by 33 % or 19 % respectively), cholesterol intake is much higher (512.2 mg, 200 mg is
recommended as a maximum). Higher is the amount taken of SFA (11.2 energetic %, recommended 7 %), and not
sufficient is the intake of -linolenic acid (68 % of OVD). People on alternative diet have low plasma levels of risk
lipid parameters and significantly higher levels of antisclerotic substances. As a result of significantly higher intake
of fruits and vegetables, plant oil, sprouts, seeds, and whole-grain food the plasma levels of antioxidative vitamins
are in vegetarians higher then threshold. It reduces the risk of the free-radical disease. On the contrary, vegetarians
have deficits in methionine intake, and 15 % of them have hypoproteinemia is (0 % in omnivores). Low plasma
levels of iron and calcium, occurrence of hyposideremia (16 % versus 2 %) and hypocalcemia (21 % versus 8 %)
corresponds with intake of vegetal absorption inhibitors (fytolic acid, oxalic acid, roughage). Frequently a mild form
of hyperhomocysteinemia is found (28 % versus 5 %), resulting vitamin B 12 deficit.
Conclusions. Vegetarian diet is optimal for prevention of free-radical diseases, especially those of the cardiovas-
cular system. It may bring a risk from the point of view of low iron and calcium absorption, low intake of methionine
and occurrence of mild forms of hyperhomocysteinemia. In traditional diet, total lipid content should be lowered,
amount of vegetable oil with -linolenic acid should be elevated as well as fruit and vegetable consummation. Whole
grain food and oily seeds should be included into the daily food.
vegetarians, omnivores, cholesterol, fatty acids, antioxidative vitamins, methionin, vitamin B 12 ,
homocysteine, iron, calcium.