It is a common belief, especially in Western society, that a major component in a balanced, healthy diet is meat and animal products. However, more and more physicians and scientists are beginning to see the benefits of a vegetarian weight loss diet.
Increasingly they are recommending a plant based diet to treat some diseases, promote health and as a means to reach a healthy weight.
A common misconception is that being a vegetarian means you eat only celery sticks and nuts, but that is incorrect. There are actually four different types of vegetarians. Lacto vegetarians avoid meat and eggs, but do eat other dairy products such as cheese and milk. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will include eggs and dairy in their diets, but avoid meat. Ovo vegetarians do not eat meat or dairy but will eat eggs. The last and most strict type is the vegan, who avoid all animal products including eggs, meat and dairy.
Eating a low fat, vegetarian diet, regardless of the type chosen is no passing fad. In reality, the benefits have been know for centuries. For both spiritual and health reasons, Indian natives and people of other Asian countries contain the largest percentage of vegetarians in the world. In fact, the Hunza, a people who dwell on the Himalayan Mountains are known to have an exclusively vegetarian diet. Many people credit their diet for the above average number of citizens who live past 100 years old among them.
According to the America Dietetic Association there are eight notable benefits to eating a low-fat, vegetarian diet. This type of diet:
1. can lower cholesterol,
2. can lower levels of saturated fat,
3. helps lower body fat,
4. increases levels of key minerals and antioxidants found in the body,
5. decrease chance of heart disease,
6. reduces rates of Type-2 diabetes,
7. can lower blood pressure, and
8. has been linked to lower instances of certain cancers.
A vegetarian diet that eliminates excess animal fat and protein, while increasing fiber intake, can be a simple fix to one of the most common health concerns in America, obesity. Becoming a vegetarian will reduce you BMI (body mass index) which is key in weight-loss management and treatment of chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One of the most common reservations to starting a vegetarian diet is the concern that you will not be getting enough protein in your diet. This is not true. The American Dietetic Associations supports the view that a well balanced vegetarian diet full of a variety of whole grains, soy products, beans and nuts fulfills all the body’s protein requirements.
In fact, the typical American diet consists of excess protein, which over time can harm the body. Too much protein can lead to the loss of up to 30% of kidney function. It is also a contributing factor to osteoporosis by pulling excess calcium out of the bones to process the excess in a process known as systematic acidity.
Vegetarianism is being supported and promoted by many health and medical organizations and the research is there to back up their views. Even restaurants and grocery stores are jumping on board, offering many vegetarian weight loss options, thus making this choice even easier. The benefits are clear; this diet will enhance and maybe even save your life.