I always had this inkling that my vegetarian friends were healthier than me. Not simply because of what they don't put into their bodies, but because of what they do. Increased amounts of vegetables with tons of essential nutrients, for starters, but also a whole slew of things that I for one miss out on when I'm ripping apart that lunchtime burger. And turns out, a new study from Loma Linda University shows an association between diet type and weight. To be specific: vegetarians have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than non-vegetarians.
And get this: not only did the meat-eaters rank in with the highest percentage of people with a BMI that's considered "obese," but they also consumed the highest amount of heart disease-linked fatty acids. Hmmm, yeah, not so promising.
But come ON. Just because some study says that being a meat-eater may mean you're more "likely" to be obese, there's no way I'm giving up my day-to-day diet. I don't have to, and neither do you.
It's all about finding a balance. Just because you're a meat-eater doesn't mean you need to avoid all of the healthy components of a vegetarian diet that help the participants in this study maintain low BMIs. Instead of chowing down on a high-calorie burger that's loaded with saturated fats, opt for grilled chicken with a side of your favorite vegetables and a long-grain rice or quinoa. It's simple swaps (like that) that make all the difference.
One thing's for sure: Simply swapping to being a vegetarian is NOT going to solve any health problems you might have automatically. Being healthy is all about your entire lifestyle, fitness and mental health included.
Have you ever made the switch from meat-eater to vegetarian, or vice versa? Do you notice a difference?
Image via Kelsey Skiver/Corbis