A study of the diets of 22,000 people over five years found that all of them gained weight, but those who switched to a vegetarian diet gained the least amount.
Over Four Pounds in Five Years
On average, study participants gained just under 4.5 pounds over the course of the study. None of the participants were overweight. In addition to diet, exercise proved to be a key factor in weight control.
Part of a Larger Study
The research is part of a much larger study of 500,000 people in 10 countries, intended to examine how diet is linked to cancer.
First let me state that I am a major fan of vegetables. They are, without question, one of the keys to staying healthy. I also believe very strongly that most should be eaten as unprocessed and as close to raw as possible to maximize their amazing healing properties.
In my three decades of taking care of patients I have seen many individuals that held some rigid beliefs that prevented them from eating any animal proteins. For some it was rooted in spiritual beliefs or a strong aversion to killing animals.
I respect an individual's freedom to choose what foods they will eat, but it has been my impartial observation that many of these individuals were chronically sick and never improved their health because they were missing essential nutrients that could only be obtained from animal foods.
Changing your dietary habits is indeed a good thing, but avoiding meat and animal protein, in my observations, just isn't the healthiest choice for about two-thirds of people.
Your body has a unique nutritional type and each type benefits from varying ratios of macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) to feel great and avoid chronic degenerative diseases, like those associated with obesity. About two-thirds of people (protein and mixed types) require regular amounts of animal-based protein to achieve optimal health.
However, about one-third of people's health will actually worsen if they consume large amounts of animal protein. These are the people who can and do thrive as vegetarians or even vegans -- and are responsible for so many of the stellar success stories that permeates the myth that vegetarianism is a healthy choice for all.
That makes about as much sense as recommending a modified Atkins-type diet for everyone. Just would not work and is not a good idea, as there is no perfect diet for everyone.
The other major problem with vegetarians, and one supported by this study, is that they focus on a negative. They assume meat is evil and rigidly avoid it. Many use that as an excuse to classify all non-animal-based food as healthy. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
Even carb nutritional types should limit their grains and avoid sugar if they are overweight, or have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
This study does support one valid concept though:
Exercising, and of course eating right, should come naturally in your daily life. Information about making both a part of your regular daily routine can be found both throughout this newsletter and assembled all together in my book, the Total Health Program.