What You Need To Know to Get Started on the Flexitarian Diet
Jan 31, 2023 By Nancy Miller

The Flexitarian Diet is an eating plan that allows meat and other animal products to be consumed regularly while emphasizing a plant-based diet. This diet allows for more variety than stricter options like veganism and vegetarianism.

A flexitarian diet is a good option if you want to eat more plants but aren't ready to give up meat entirely. The advantages of the Flexitarian Diet, acceptable foods, and a weekly sample menu are discussed in this article.

The Flexitarian Diet: What's It All About?

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian, developed the Flexitarian Diet so that individuals might enjoy the health benefits of vegetarianism while still occasionally indulging in their favorite animal products.

This diet's name is a portmanteau of the terms "flexible" and "vegetarian" because of this. Vegans abstain from eating anything from an animal, whereas vegetarians limit their consumption of meat and sometimes other animal goods.

There is a distinction between flexitarians and vegetarians, and vegans since flexitarians eat meat. No hard and fast guidelines or calorie or macronutrient targets have been established for the Flexitarian Diet. More than just a diet; it's a whole way of life.

Possible Health Benefits

There may be several advantages to a flexitarian diet. There is no agreed-upon definition of the Flexitarian Diet, making it hard to determine if and how the gifts shown in studies of other plant-based diets apply to it.

To experience the health advantages of a plant-based diet, a diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and other minimally processed whole foods is necessary. If you cut less on meat but still consume a lot of processed foods, don't expect to reap the same health advantages.

Cardiovascular disease

The heart benefits from diets high in fiber and heart-healthy lipids. Vegetarians and those who consume fish had lower rates of ischemic heart disease than meat eaters, but vegetarians had greater rates of hemorrhagic and total stroke.

This was the conclusion of a study that included more than 48,188 people. Ischemic heart disease was 13% lower in fish and 22% lower in vegetarians than meat eaters. This is probably because vegetarian diets are high in fiber and antioxidants, which are linked to favorable effects on cardiovascular health.

Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were both shown to be considerably reduced in a vegetarian diet compared to an omnivore one, according to an analysis of 15 research published in 2020.

Handling One's Weight

A flexitarian diet might aid with weight control. This is because flexitarians tend to consume fewer fatty, processed meat and dairy products and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, all of which are lower in calories.

Those who switch to a plant-based diet have been demonstrated in several studies to experience greater weight loss success than those who don't. Vegetarians dropped an extra 4.5 pounds over 18 weeks compared to nonvegetarians, according to a meta-analysis including more than 1,100 participants.

Followers of vegan diets have been shown to lose more weight than vegetarians and omnivores in this and other studies. The Flexitarian Diet may aid in weight reduction, although not as much as a vegan diet, because of the similarities between the two.

The Flexitarian Diet does help with weight loss, but that's not its main purpose. It emphasizes eating whole, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes.


The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. A plant-based diet, in particular, has been shown to have beneficial effects on illness prevention and management. Plant-based diets likely promote weight reduction since they feature numerous foods high in fiber and low in harmful fats and added sugars.

A plant-based diet with few animal products was related to a 20% lower incidence of diabetes in research with over 200,000 participants. Even more impressive was the 34% reduction in risk associated with a plant-based diet that prioritized healthy plant foods compared to a plant-based diet that prioritized less healthy plant foods, which was associated with a 16% rise in diabetes risk.


Cancer risk is reduced in those who consume a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, and legumes, while cutting out on highly processed options. Vegetarian diets have been linked to a decreased risk of developing all malignancies, particularly colorectal cancers.

A 7-year study of 78,000 adults indicated that semi-vegetarians had an 8% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than nonvegetarians. The flexitarian diet, which encourages eating a variety of meats and vegetables, may, thus, lessen the risk of cancer.

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