Lose the meat, lose more weight

Fruit and vegetables in boxes on wooden work top

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.

Read the Taiwanese report



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