Plant based diets are correlated with lower BMI (body mass index) according to an interesting study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Data was collected from over 70,000 participants over 5 years (2002-2007) and divided people into 5 groups:
- part time vegetarians
- pescatarians (vegetarians eating fish)
Researchers found a statistically significant difference in the BMI of the different groups. Although each group consumed a similar amount of calories per day (about 2000 calories), only 10% of vegans and 17% of vegetarians were obese. However, 33% of the meat eaters were obese.
Most vegetarians showed high intakes of fiber, beta carotene, and magnesium compared to meat eaters. Researchers also noted that some vegetarians and vegans showed a lack of proper nutrient intake
Before we all jump to conclusions, remember that the above is a correlation, not a causation. And yet, it appears that people who make a minded decision to eat in a certain way, manage their weight (and health) more successfully.
We postulate (and it would be great to see studies on this), that once you choose a specific type of diet, you become much more aware of what goes into your body. The result is that you forgo many junk foods.
What do you think?