Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Management

Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Management
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Americans eating meat-free diets average higher intakes of nearly every nutrient, while maintaining a lower body weight—perhaps due, in part, to their higher resting metabolic rates.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

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 those eating meat-free diets.

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 have. 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 people do when they go on a diet and restrict their 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, “[J]ust 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 with, on average, 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?”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to wader and madlyinlovewithlife via flickr 

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

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 those eating meat-free diets.

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 have. 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 people do when they go on a diet and restrict their 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, “[J]ust 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 with, on average, 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?”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to wader and madlyinlovewithlife via flickr 

Doctor's Note

Anyone can lose weight in the short term on nearly any diet. But, diets don’t work in the long term—almost by definition. We don’t need a diet; we need a new way of eating that we can comfortably stick with throughout our lives. If that’s the case, then we had better choose to eat in a way that will most healthfully sustain us. That’s why a plant-based diet may offer the best of both worlds. It’s the only diet shown to reverse heart disease, our #1 killer, in the majority of patients. See, for example, Eliminating the #1 Cause of Death.

There are a number of theories offered as to why those eating plant-based are so much slimmer, on average. See, for example:

For additional context, check out my associated blog post: The Healthiest Diet for Weight Control.

If you’re curious about weight loss pills, I did two videos on them in 2019: Are Weight Loss Pills Safe? and Are Weight Loss Pills Effective?

Stay up to date with all of my newest weight loss videos on the topic page. I also have a bunch of fasting videos coming out in 2019 and 2020. 

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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