Vegetarian diets are very varied, ranging from the strictest vegan diet, through those that renounce only certain foods of animal origin, to the new trends of flexible vegetarianism or flexitarianism, which do not rule out the occasional diet. animal product from time to time. In the same way, also the reasons why these forms of food are adopted are very different, whether they are religious, for ecological convictions or for being in and following fashion trends. But there is a reason to say goodbye to meat, dairy, and other animal foods that can convince more than one of our readers: shed a few extra pounds.
A group of researchers affiliated with the Harvard University School of Public Health carried out an analysis of various clinical tests on the effect of vegetarian diets on weight loss. Although articles linking vegetarian diets to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease have been published before, few studies have been devoted to determining whether reducing meat consumption also reduces the number on the scale.
The researchers concentrated on studies of ovolactovegetarian diets (those that include eggs and milk) and vegan diets.
One of the authors of the analysis, the nutrition professor Frank Hu, clarifies that in the studies vegetarian diets were not directly compared with non-vegetarian diets, therefore it cannot be concluded that eliminating food of animal origin is more effective than low-fat or low-carbohydrate diets, but offer more weight-loss benefits than the average American diet, especially in the short term.
If you dare to try the results, either for a limited period or as a permanent change, consider these expert conclusions:
People on vegetarian diets lost about 4.4 pounds more than those with no change in diet, while vegans lost 5.5 pounds more.
- It is possible that the reason is the large volume of fruits, vegetables and whole grains that vegetarians consume, because dietary fiber is associated with lower body weight.
- Plant foods generally have fewer calories and more nutrients.
- Eliminating meat is not a magic weight loss remedy: Lydia Bazzano, a professor of epidemiology at Tulane University (who was not involved in the analysis), cautions that you can be a vegetarian or vegan, and still consume too many grains and refined sugars.
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You should know that experts claim that plant-based diets bring many health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and stroke, as well as a longer life expectancy. But as long as they are balanced and rich in nutrients, they could otherwise lead to health problems caused by vitamin, calcium and protein deficiencies.
Consult with your doctor about any drastic changes you are going to make in your diet and do not put your health at risk in order to lose weight.