Sally Feltner MS, PhD Aging and Lifestyle, Diet and Health, Food and Culture, Nutrition Research, The American Plate, Vegetarianism, Weight Loss June 9, 2022 2 Minutes
Lose weight and live longer on a vegetarian diet.? From the Harvard Medical School Health Guides
There is a lot of attention being paid to switching to a plant-based diet. There are many published articles on plant-based diets to achieve a lower body mass index, lower blood pressure, and reduced risks for heart disease, diabetes type 2, cancer, and longevity. Plenty of attention is being paid to the health benefits of those centenarians living in the Blue Zones, particularly ones that live with a vegan diet as well as those with a modified vegetarian approach.
The predominant American Blue Zone is represented by the Seventh – Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. “The first Adventist Health Study (AHS-1) was funded by the National Institutes of Health followed 34,000 Adventists in California for 14 years. It was found that the Adventists who most strictly followed the religions’ teachings lived about 10 years longer than people who did not.
The practices most likely to yield that longevity were narrowed down to five, each adding about two years to life expectancy.” Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. 2015
- Eating a plant-based diet with only small amounts of dairy or fish
- Not smoking
- Maintaining a medium body weight
- Eating a handful of nuts four to five times a week
- Doing regular physical activity
- A flexitarian diet – meat is limited as a condiment and not considered the main attraction. Use vegetables, appetizers instead.
- Semi vegetarian diet (no red meat)
- Pescetarian – avoid meat and poultry but eat fish and seafood.
- Lacto -ovo -vegetarian – skip all meat, fish, and poultry but include dairy and eggs in your diet.
If you’re trying to lose weight -go heavy on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but limit foods high in saturated fats (ice cream, whole milk, and cheese.)
An important aspect of losing weight is often not what you eat – but how much you eat to keep daily calories in check.
“Our meals and snacks are taking on gargantuan proportions. The food industry decided they had to make portions larger to stay competitive and people got used to larger sizes very quickly. Today, normal sizes seem skimpy,” says Marion Nestle,PhD, MPH, Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University.
When eating out, the transition to a plant-based diet is easier than thought. Fill your plate with vegetables – cooked, raw, or in a salad. Check out the sides that are offered. Then gradually introduce all vegetarian meals once or twice a week and if you like, increase it until you are as “vegan” as you want to be.