Why are vegetarians and vegans slimmer and healthier than their carnivorous counterparts?
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
It's well-established that vegans and vegetarians have a lower BMI, and that the diet appears to confer protective effects against cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality, said Dr Joan Sabaté, professor in the Dept of Nutrition at Loma Linda University.
But is this because they are not eating meat, or because their overall diet pattern is better?
New research from the Adventist Health Study-2, a cohort of 96,000 US Seventh-day Adventists recruited between 2002 and 2007, reveals that beyond differences in animal food intakes, vegetarians consume greater amounts of plant foods and drinking water, and reduced intake of sweets, snack foods, added fats and beverages compared to non-vegetarians.
Some people claim that vegetarians are healthier because they are typically better educated, more health-conscious, more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke and drink - but in the case of the AHS-2 cohort, most participants met the above profile regardless of whether they were vegetarian, and the benefits still stand.
Click HERE for a summary of hot stories from the vegetarian nutrition congress at Loma Linda University.