Is a diet with a higher amount of vegetables recommended?

April 8, 2023 | 04:21 am PT
Dear Doctor, I have been purposefully limiting my meat intake and switching to consuming more vegetables, hopefully to feel healthier. May I ask for your opinion on this? (Trung, 34, Ho Chi Minh City)


A healthy diet requires nutrients from various food sources, including animal fat and protein, as long as you don't consume more energy than needed.

Adults are recommended to consume between 100 and 150 grams of fruits, and between 400 and 500 grams of vegetables a day, which is equivalent to one serving. Adults also need at least between 130 and 150 grams of carbohydrates a day to maintain the central nervous system’s activities.

Previously, most people had plant-based diets as a result of their limited financial resources. They could only eat meat and fish on special occasions, and that made more people suffer from infections.

As society develops, people have been gradually switching to eat more proteins, less carbohydrates and less vegetables.

Accordingly, this results in non-infectious diseases including obesity and cardiovascular diseases, as well as other conditions such as high blood fat levels. Looking at this, we can clearly see the importance of maintaining a varied food intake.

On the other hand, plant-based diets without animal-derived food could lead to metabolism disorders and other diseases. Generally, they are not good in the long-term.

All in all, if possible, a varied diet is recommended to stay healthy. I suggest people consume food from between 15 to 20 sources a day to avoid poor nutrition.

In fact, before deciding to become a vegan or a vegetarian, people should consider their health and lifestyle, to avoid negative effects on their health. Simply replacing a portion of meat in their daily food intake, or going for flexitarian diets, are options that could be considered as well.

Dr. Nguyen Trong Hung

Head of Adult Nutrition Counseling Department, National Institute of Nutrition

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