With a vegetarian diet, certain animal products are not consumed. Depending on which products are avoided, different forms of vegetarianism can be distinguished. For example, while the lacto-ovo vegetarian consumes dairy products and eggs, the vegan diet excludes all animal products. The reasons why animal products are partially or completely avoided can be of very different nature.
In general, we note that, the more the choice of food is restricted and the less diversified the diet, the more difficult it is to provide the body with all the nutritive and protective substances it needs, and this, in sufficient quantity. This principle applies to a diet that is both vegetarian and omnivorous.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble substance, present in significant amounts almost exclusively in products of animal origin. It is particularly essential for the formation of red blood cells, cell division, the regeneration of mucous membranes and the good health of nerve cells. The human body can store the ingested vitamin B12 for several years, which is why the signs of a deficiency can be slow to appear despite a diet low in vitamin B12.
Cheese is a good source of vitamin B12. 100 g of Emmentaler AOP or 300 g of cottage cheese are enough to cover the daily needs of an adult man.
Traditionally, rennet extracted from the stomachs of calves has been used to make cheese. Although milk, the basic ingredient in cheese, is an important component of the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet, some vegetarians exclude cheeses produced with traditional rennet.
In addition to the traditional rennet extracted from the stomachs of calves, microbial rennet is used more and more today. As rennet is considered by food law as a processing aid and not as a food additive, it is not mandatory to declare it.