Transcript: Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Management
We know that vegetarians tend to be slimmer, but there's this perception that veg diets may be somehow deficient in nutrients, so how's this for a simple study—let's just analyze the diets of 13,000 people and compare the nutrient intake of those eating meat to the those eating meat-free.
They found that those eating vegetarian were getting higher intakes of nearly every nutrient: more fiber; more vitamin A; more vitamin C; more vitamin E; more of the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, & folate), more calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, while at the same time eating less of the harmful stuff like saturated fat and cholesterol. And yes, they got enough protein.
And some of those nutrients are the ones Americans really struggle to get enough of—fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and those eating vegetarian got more of all of them. Even so, though, just because they did better than the standard American diet isn't saying much—they still didn't get as much as they should of. I mean yes those eating vegetarian ate significantly more dark green leafy vegetables, but that comes out to just two teaspoons of greens more.
In terms of weight management, the vegetarians were consuming on average 363 fewer calories every day. That's like what you do when you go on a diet and restrict your food intake, but that seemed just like what vegetarians ate normally, so a vegetarian diet could be considered an all-you-care-to-eat version of a calorie-restricted weight loss diet, naturally inducing weight loss and also helping maintain healthy weight status long term. So just following a vegetarian diet alone, without focusing on calorie reduction, could result in weight loss.
How sustainable are more plant-based diets long term? They are in fact among the only type of diets that have been shown to be sustainable long-term,perhaps because not only do people lose weight but they often feel so much better.
And there's no calorie counting or portion control. In fact, vegetarians may burn more calories in their sleep! Those eating more plant-based diets appear to have an 11% higher resting metabolic rate. Both vegetarians and vegans in this study just naturally seemed to have a revved up metabolism compared to those eating meat.
Having said that, the vegetarian dietary pattern in this study included eating eggs and dairy, so while they were significantly slimmer than those eating meat, they were still, on average, overweight. As we've seen before, the only dietary pattern associated on average with an ideal body weight was a strictly plant-based one. Still… this study does help dispel the myth that meat-free diets are somehow nutrient deficient. In fact, in response the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association asked, what could be more nutrient dense than a vegetarian diet?
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
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