Vegetarians can eat cheese, because dairy products are included in a vegetarian diet. A vegan diet, however, is more restrictive and does not allow animal products, such as cheese or eggs. According to the New York Times, 7.3 million Americans consider themselves to be vegetarian.
A vegetarian diet has been found to have health benefits. According to ABC News, vegetarians have a 32 percent lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians. A meatless diet is heart healthy because it is usually lower in saturated fat and sodium, compared to a diet that includes meat. Consuming saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol, and excess sodium can cause high blood pressure.