Can a vegetarian diet help control your weight? Lots of people think so, but not all vegetarian diets are alike. Simply avoiding meat doesn’t necessarily mean you fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes. A vegetarian diet filled with processed foods like chips and sweets might not help much in the weight department.
Control Your Weight with Fruits and Veggies:
Spanish scientists suggest that loading up on healthy plant-based foods can have benefits (Nutrients, July 9, 2019). On the other hand, drinking fruit juice or sugary beverages and eating potatoes and pastries may not be helpful. Although such a diet is vegetarian, it is not particularly healthful.
The Spanish researchers recruited more than 20,000 people who have graduated from the University of Navarra since 1999. The volunteers in this prospective cohort study answer detailed questionnaires every two years. For this study, dubbed SUN, responses from 11,000 participants were analyzed.
People whose diets contained mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and coffee were less likely to gain significant weight over the decade. Those who frequently consumed sugary beverages, including fruit juices, potatoes, refined grains and pastries were just as likely as the non-vegetarians in the study to gain weight.
To control your weight, you wouldn’t need to adopt a completely vegetarian diet, although you certainly could. Eating habits that focus on whole plant-based foods, with as little processed food as possible, appear to be beneficial in most respects.
If you would like to learn more about following a DASH diet, with an emphasis on vegetables and fruits, or a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables and fruits and uses fish in place of red meat, you may wish to read our books. The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies has detailed descriptions of both these dietary patterns. Our cookbook, Recipes & Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy, explains how to make delicious meals. Not all of them are strictly vegetarian, but there are plenty of recipes that can help with a healthy vegetarian diet.