Meat eaters more likely to be obese than vegetarians

A new study says that women who are vegetarians are less likely to be obese than those who eat meat.

The findings imply that replacing meat products in the diet with vegetables could with help weight control.

The study determined that in a group of more than 55,000 Swedish women, those who identified themselves as vegetarian weighed less than their meat-eating counterparts.

Included in the study were those who consumed dairy products (lactovegetarians), and "semivegetarians," who said they sometimes ate fish or eggs. The researchers found that vegetarians were two-thirds less likely than meat eaters to be obese.

P. Kirstin Newby, a researcher at Tufts University in Boston, said that though this was not a weight loss study, it would definitely help in planning a weight controlling diet.

The study questioned 55,459 healthy middle-aged and older women about their eating habits, weight, health and lifestyle factors and they found that vegetarians had the lowest average body mass index (BMI). They also found that 40 per cent of meat-eaters were found to be obese, while only 25 percent of the vegetarians were overweight.

Researchers say that the study is significant in that it highlights the fact that not all carbohydrates are equal.

A fiber-rich diet, is as a rule, advocated as a healthy one, plant foods are often high in carbohydrates but they also contain a lot of fiber, which helps you to feel full.

They also have other nutrients that are important to overall health, says Newby, and it is important to note that eating a plant-based diet could help in fighting cancer and heart disease.

Newby says that meat eaters should limit saturated fat by choosing lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products.

published in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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