A vegetarian diet can be beneficial, but even vegetarians need to pay attention to the quality of the food they eat. Harvard researchers who have tracked the dietary habits and health of more than 125,000 men and women for decades found that those who followed high-quality plant-based diets controlled their weight better. Such diets are rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seed and whole grains.
Conversely, those whose diets contained more fries, refined grains and sweetened beverages and snacks were significantly more likely to gain weight. The scientists presented their data at the Society for Nutrition annual meeting, Nutrition 2018, Boston, June 10, 2018.
Following a Vegetarian Diet for Better Health:
Another study of South Asians living in the US found that those following a vegetarian diet had fewer risk factors for diabetes and heart disease (Society for Nutrition annual meeting, Nutrition 2018, Boston, June 10, 2018). Although the vegetarians consumed more carbohydrates, they had lower body mass index and smaller waist circumferences. They also had lower fasting glucose and LDL cholesterol levels, suggesting healthier metabolism.
More Data on Quality Vegetarian Diets:
Additional studies from Brazil and the Netherlands found that people relying on plant protein more than animal protein had lower risks of cardiovascular disease (Society for Nutrition annual meeting, Nutrition 2018, Boston, June 10, 2018). Here again, though, the best diets contain minimally processed foods. Those food choices tend to be richer in fiber, minerals and vitamins than highly processed foods.
If you would like to learn more about where to get protein in a vegetarian diet, you may wish to listen to our interview with Dr. Christopher Gardner. It is Show 1126.