Because of the addictive nature of fatty foods, sugars and artificial sweeteners, the average body mass index for the general U.S. population is approaching obesity, and even children as young as five are now getting bariatric surgery. Obesity metabolically contributes to insulin resistance because of free fatty acid spillover into the blood. Even vegetarians are, on average, overweight in the United States, but those eating more strictly plant-based diets average an ideal body weight. Meat has been found to increase the risk of being overweight, obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Losing Weight on a Plant-Based Diet
Conversely, plant-based diets may help prevent weight gain, promote weight loss and maintain desired weight by increasing resting energy expenditure, lowering energy gain, up-regulating metabolism, improving satiety, preventing fat cells from taking up fat and improving plasma adiponectin levels (a hormone that helps control weight). Our tastes can acclimate to healthy changes.
Healthy food choices can help burn fat with no additional effort. Soy foods may help double weight loss and promote abdominal fat loss while protecting against breast cancer. Ordinary foods such as oatmeal and beans may have extraordinary benefits. Adding nuts and dates to your diet and drinking green tea on a daily basis may be helpful in preventing obesity. Eating slowly will help you feel full on less food. The beneficial gut microflora established and maintained by a plant diet rich in flavonoids and arginine promote fat loss. Spicy foods may also help activate our brown adipose tissue, which facilitates weight loss.
Other Diets and Weight Loss
Caloric restriction may not protect against cancer as well as a healthy plant-based diet. Paleo diets may undermine the benefits of exercise. The low-carb Atkins Diet is associated with greater mortality from all causes, although replacing its animal fat and protein with plant sources does improve survival in plant-based, low carb diet adherents. Even vigorous exercise may be less important than diet in reducing obesity or slowing cellular aging.
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Topic summary contributed by Ted
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