Runners World Magazine recently featured a new six month study published in the journal Nutrition which suggests that switching to a vegetarian diet may be the key to weight loss and a lot of athletes seems to be taking notice.
The study covered a group of adults who were overweight or already obese and divided them into five different dietary groups. The first group was placed on a strict Vegan diet and were allowed no meat products at all. The second group was Vegetarian, which means they had no meat but were allowed dairy and eggs. The third group were placed on a Pesco-Vegetarian (also called Pescetarian) diet which added fish to the vegetarian diet. The fourth group was placed on a Semi-Vegitarian diet which permitted red meat no more than once a week and chicken no more than 5 times a week. The fifth and final group was allowed to have a omnivorous diet with no restrictions on the types of food they could have.
Other than the limitations of their specific groups, there were no other restrictions placed on the study participants. They were told to simply eat until feeling satisfied and were encouraged to make low-fat choices. They were followed for a six month period and without any calorie limitations or other changes they recorded the average amount of weight loss for each group.
Those in the Vegan and Vegetarian groups ended with the most weight loss with 7.6 pounds and 6.3 pounds lost for each. The other groups only saw about half the amount of weight loss as the other groups with an average of 3.2 pounds for both the Pesco-Vegetarian and the Semi-Vegetarian groups. The weight loss for the omnivore group saw little change as well with an average of only 3.1 pounds.
This of course is not surprising to many nutritionists and health care specialist who have been advocating a vegetarian, whole foods, plant-based diet which has been yielding some promising health benefits in addition to this new study. It has been so promising, in fact, that a number of athletes have recently been advocated for the health benefits of a Vegetarian diet, including pro-wrestler Austin Aries who has recently challenged young people to go vegan in a peta2 campaign. He's in good company, too; Iron-Man champion Dave Scott, basketball great Robert Parish, track star Carl Lewis, and football legend Joe Namath are all vegetarian athletes as well.
While some experts still debate on the health benefits of the Pesco-Vegetarian diet over the strictly vegetarian one, when it comes to weight loss, the veggies win over the meat eaters. And one thing that most health experts will agree on, whether for weight loss or general health, reducing the intake of meat in the diet can have a huge impact.
Would you try axing the meat to shed those extra pounds and improve your weight loss success?