European Vegetarian Union

written/translated by: Carla Van de Velde / Georgia Blackwell

Drop the Meat and Lose the Kilos

Results from a study published in March showed that switching to a meat-free diet keeps your weight down. Scientists for Cancer Research UK who studied the eating habits of 22,000 people – meat and fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans - over 5 years, found they all put on a few kilos. However, the weight gain was less in carnivores who switched to a vegetarian diet.

The 22,000 people were recruited to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and were examined between 1994 and 1999 by a team, led by Professor Tim Key of Oxford University. They were measured and weighed and asked to give details on their diet and lifestyle. The team then followed up on their “quarry” 5 years later (between 2000 and 2003) and asked them the same questions. They found that everyone had gained an average of about 2 kilos. Those who had switched to a vegetarian diet, however, had gained around 0.5 kg less, with people on a dairy-free vegan diet putting on the least weight.

Professor Key said that it had been known for some time that vegetarians and vegans tended to be slimmer than meat eaters but they had never been followed over a number of years. He also stated that the results go against the current popular view that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins keeps your weight down because the lowest weight gain came in people with high intakes of carbohydrate and low intake of protein.


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