Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, March 11, 2017

It's Your Choice

"Nothing is as important, in my opinion, as energy density and the fibre content of such diets [weight-loss diets]."
"A strict vegetarian has to eat a mountain of food in order to have enough calories."
"[Protein has] little long-term significance [in dropping extra pounds and keeping them off."
Dr. Jim Mann, professor of nutrition, University of Otago, New Zealand

"There are two different types of fibre -- insoluble fibre and soluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is just bulk, so it physically fills you up, whereas soluble fibre has low glycemic index, so it doesn't spike your blood sugar really high. It's digested slowly, and so you don't have this 'I feel full' and then all of a sudden 30 minutes later,'I'm hungry again' [situation[. It keeps you satiated."
"In high-protein diets you are depleting your glycogen stores and the water that goes along with them, so you are going to lose a lot of weight. For some, that's very motivating -- but that's not really body fat you are losing, that's water."
"[Vegetarian diets always' contain adequate carbohydrate so they would not produce the glycogen and water loss."
"It's very important not to try to identify just one factor because then people say, 'Oh, I will just have that one factor'. They will just take a fibre pill. It's a great risk to oversimplify nutrition."
"We usually tell people to try the vegetarian diet for three weeks. It's less scary that way -- you are not doing it forever, you are doing it for three weeks. But that gives you a chance to try it out and get your taste buds adjusted."
Brie Turner-McGrievy, nutritionist, University of South Carolina
Mushroom, Tomato and Cheese Omelet with Fruit
Photo: Web MD

Experiments where people are assigned on a random basis to different diets appear to suggest that vegetarianism can be useful in losing additional pounds irrespective of philosophy or how one feels about exercising regularly. Most studies of this nature were conducted with fairly small samples, some with as few as a dozen participants. A meta-analysis, on the other hand, taking into account a dozen trials that took in over one thousand adult subjects discovered last year that people with vegetarian diets lost an average of 4.4 pounds over those with other nutritional plans.

Dr. Mann spoke of experiments that leave the impression initially that whole high-protein diets do prove successful in gearing toward faster weight loss, and keep appetite under control. However, those effects tend to dissipate and finally disappear after a year or so on. Leading to the conclusion that there is indeed no long-term significance in relying on a high protein diet to lose additional poundage, since the effect is temporary, and weight can begin to creup back up once the initial effect is gone.

People who focused on exclusively plant-based foods refusing to incorporate any dairy and eggs; a vegan diet; lost the most poundage, an average of 5.5 pounds. Signs also point to plant-based diets leading to improved health. Studies conclude that vegetarian dieters gain in lowered risk of diabetes onset, heart disease and cancer. Fibre has the distinction of helping to maintain a more balanced weight. And vegan diets in particular, in comparison to most North American diets heavy on protein, are credited as a great weight-loss aid.

In 2003, when scientists studied the body mass index of over 37,000 Britons of all ages they discovered that the average male meat-eater had a BMI of around 24.4, just on the cusp of overweight, while the average vegan had a BMI of 22.4, in comparison. For women the patterns revealed similar outcomes. A study of Seventh-Day Adventist church members across North America undertaken in 2009 revealed a five-point differential between those on an omnivorous diet (28.8 BMI) as compared to those who ate plant-based foods exclusively (23.6 BMI).

Lifestyle choices represent yet another element in the equation. Scientists find that people who favour plant-based diets happen philosophically to be more health-oriented in lifestyle than most members of society. In addition to which, Vegans tend to gravitate to less consumption of alcoholic beverages, are less involved in tobacco use, and have a tendency to increase the exercise component of their healthier lifestyles.

veggie stir fry
Photo: Web MD

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