Get The Facts About Vegetarian Diets
What you need to know before you go veggie
The plan outlined in the Dean Ornish, MD, lifestyle diet book, Eat More,
Weigh Less, is a vegetarian diet designed to help you reverse heart disease
and lose weight. Ornish has published several scientific studies to document
the effectiveness of his diet, which is high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables
and very low in fat. This low-fat, vegetarian approach can be difficult to
adhere to for a long periods of time. But if you can stick with it, the
benefits are outstanding.
"A vegetarian diet may be just as effective as statin drugs in
lowering blood cholesterol."
Why Be a Vegetarian?
Most people who convert to vegetarianism now do so for health reasons.
Others are vegetarians because of religious, moral, environmental, and/or
Vegetarian lifestyles are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic
illnesses, including heart disease, many types of cancer, diabetes, high blood
pressure, and obesity. Not only do most vegetarians eat more healthfully than
meat eaters, they tend to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco and to exercise
regularly. Clearly, a lifestyle that includes these good habits is one that
will help you control your weight.
A study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association
demonstrated the effectiveness of a vegetarian diet in lowering blood
cholesterol levels. This diet was low in fat and included soy, nuts, margarines
containing plant sterols (such as Benecol), high-fiber grains, and plenty of
fruits and vegetables.
The results suggest that a vegetarian diet may be just as effective as
statin drugs in lowering blood cholesterol -- a finding that has far-reaching
implications for many people.
Tips for Non-Vegetarians
Even if you're not interested in joining the 6 to 8 million Americans who
call themselves vegetarians, it's a good idea to eat a meatless meal at least
once a week. (A bonus: meatless meals often allow you to eat larger portions
for the same number of calories.) Try ordering meatless dishes when you eat out
to get familiar with a variety of delicious vegetarian foods. And when you do
eat meat, move it off the center of the plate and treat it more like a side
dish. Just reduce the portion size and fill the gap with vegetables, salads,
legumes, and whole grains -- all naturally low in fat and high in fiber,
vitamins, and minerals.
This little change in mindset can help you win the battle of the bulge!