Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tufts nutrition scientists on vegetarianism and weight loss

PK Newby, Katherine Tucker, and Alicja Wolk from Tufts' Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging compare the risk of overweight and obesity among several types of vegetarians, in the latest edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. From Sally Squires' report in the Washington Post's Lean Plate Club column:

To reach a healthier weight this summer, consider throwing some portobello mushrooms, veggie burgers and fish on the grill in place of steak, hot dogs and chicken.

A new study of some 55,000 healthy, middle-aged Swedish women finds that those who ate little or no meat weighed significantly less than their more carnivorous counterparts. The findings are some of the first to show a direct link between a plant-based diet and a lower body mass index, or BMI....

Even so, Newby and other nutrition experts note that not all vegetarian foods are healthy. A steady intake of sweetened soft drinks, french fries and candy bars qualifies as vegetarian, but is loaded with saturated fat, unhealthy trans fat and added sugar. Plus, it's high in calories and lacks fiber and many essential nutrients.

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