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Switching to vegetarian keeps weight down

Posted by Tara Burner 0 comments

13 March 2006


LONDON – If you want to keep the weight down, switch to a meat-free
diet, scientists said on Tuesday.

Researchers, who studied the eating habits of 22,000 people over five
years, including meat eaters and vegetarians, found they all put on a
few kilos but meat eaters who changed to a vegetarian or vegan diet
gained the least.

“Contrary to current popular views that a diet low in carbohydrates
and high in protein keeps weight down, we found that the lowest
weight gain came in people with high intake of carbohydrates and low
intake of protein,” said Professor Tim Key.

The research compared weight gain among meat eaters, fish eaters,
vegetarians and vegans — who eat no animal products — and is
published in the International Journal of Obesity.

It showed that on average people gained 2 kilos (4.4 lb) over five
years. None of the volunteers was overweight.

“The weight gain was less in the vegans than in the meat-eaters and
somewhere in between in the other groups,” said Key, of Britain’s
Cancer Research UK charity and the University of Oxford, who
conducted the study.

“The lowest weight gain was in people who changed their diet to eat
fewer animal products,” he told Reuters.

Key and his colleagues said exercise was another important factor in
controlling weight.

“The data also showed that people who became more physically active
during the five-year period gained less weight than people who did
very little exercise,” Key said.

The findings are from the British arm of EPIC (European Prospective
Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition), which is comparing the
diets of 500,000 people in 10 countries to discover how diet is
linked to cancer.

The EPIC study has already revealed that diabetics have three times
the normal risk of developing colorectal cancer, which kills more
than 490,000 people worldwide each year.

It also showed that diet is second only to tobacco, as a leading
cause of cancer, and, along with alcohol, is responsible for nearly a
third of cancer cases in developed countries.

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