Lose the meat, lose more weight
Want to lose weight? Confused by the plethora of diets and dietary advice on offer? There is a simple way to eat yourself thinner: cut back on the meat.
Researchers in Taiwan have just established that losing weight is more effective for meat-free eaters than it is for those whose diets contain meat … 2 kg more effective, in fact.
According to a paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, people on vegetarian diets lose an average 2.02 kg more than those on non-vegetarian weight-loss plans. And vegan dieters, those who also cut out animal products such as dairy and eggs, lost an average 2.52 kg more than omnivorous slimmers.
Study lead Ru-Yi Huang of E-Da Hospital in Taiwan, is emphatic in concluding that “vegetarian diets are more effective than non-vegetarian diets for weight-loss in the short term”.
The finding of the study – Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials – are based on trials of 12 different diets and 1,151 dieters, which took place over periods of between 9 and 74 weeks.
Other diets under the microscope included the meat-heavy Atkins Diet, as well as those recommended by the US National Cholesterol Education Program and the American Diabetes Association.
Explaining why diets that do not include meat aid weight-loss, Huang said fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains contained a lot of fibre and little glucose, so food took longer to digest and did not cause blood-sugar levels to spike.
The study also found that meat-free eaters who also calorie-counted lost more weight than those who didn’t.
The research backs up findings from 2010, when a cross-European study by researchers from Imperial College London showed that meat-eating contributed to weight gain.
Another dietary investigation in 2013 showed that those wanting to shed a few pounds could do worse than replace meat with mushrooms – which actively contribute to weight-loss.