It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that a plant-based diet has plenty of benefits. A recent study in the JAMA Internal Medicine concludes that eating more legumes, vegetables, fruits and less meat is associated with lower mortality risk.
Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Tuft University’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory discussed the chink in the vegetarian armor in a recent newsletter.
“It’s important to note that vegetarians in the study were more highly educated, less likely to smoke, exercised more and were thinner,” she says.
She notes that as with anything, you need to think of it in terms of the whole package. For instance, all meat substitutes are not created equal. Cheese is high in saturated fat, so quiche on Meatless Monday is not going to get you the hoped-for results. However, a rice and bean casserole might.
In the Tufts Newsletter, Lichtenstein says it’s OK if you’re not ready to swear off meat completely. It’s better to think about the whole diet. She says that if animal products are part of your normal diet they should be mostly fish and poultry. And it’s always a wise idea to boost your servings of veggies and fruit, opt for whole grains and, of course, exercise.
What about you? Have you cut down on your meat consumption or adopted a strict vegetarian diet? We’d love to hear more about your vegetarian lifestyle!