Do you have a weight problem? Are you dealing with obesity and the gamut of issues related with being overweight like a greater risk of colon problems and heart disease? Sadly, the latest statistics show that in America, 60% people are either overweight or obese.
All over the world, cardiovascular surgeons and dieticians have been recommending a high fiber diet for successful weight loss. Research has shown the key role played by a balanced diet in prevention of chronic illnesses and longevity. A balanced diet should be low in animal products and fat, and high in vegetables, fruits and any other high fiber foods.
A balanced diet, by its very definition tends towards ‘vegetarianism.’ Such a diet can help regulate digestion, maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. However vegetarianism is not a short-term diet – it’s a lifestyle choice. Research shows a statistical correlation between long term vegetarianism and more physical activity and less smoking and drinking related toxicity. Vegetarians also show lower death rates from chronic disease.
There are various types of vegetarians:
• Vegans or strict vegetarians – They do not eat or use any animal products. Fur and leather is avoided along with edible products of animal origin like honey. Their staple diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, seeds and plant based fats.
• Raw vegans – They are vegans whose diet consists of largely raw vegan foods. This includes foods like sprouted grains, fermented foods, and untreated plant fats. In recent years, this diet has become popular because it is provides a simple and tasty way to weight loss. Raw vegan foods also have high fiber content so people don’t feel hungry on this diet.
• Lacto-ovo vegetarians – They include dairy products (lacto) and eggs (ovo) in their diet along with fruits and vegetables. This diet provides a great way to transition from a non-vegetarian diet to a vegetarian diet because its not as strict as vegans.
• Pesco- and Pollo-Vegetarians – Pesco-vegetarians include fish in their diet whereas pollo-vegetarians include chicken. Thus, these cannot be strictly included in vegetarianism. However, they are strong advocates of healthy and organic food choices for detoxification and health reasons.
A vegetarian diet, regardless of its form, gives a weight loss benefit mainly due to its calorie density. This means that a fiber rich diet fills you up quicker, and helps curb your appetite. That is a natural way to eat less and shed excess weight.
However, even vegetarians need to watch their overall calorie intake to remain healthy. A vegetarian brownie or lasagna can add to the waistline as easily as burgers and fries. If you go vegetarian, you must have a variety of plant based foods and high fiber whole grains and avoid fatty foods to maximize benefits.
If you are concerned with good health and a long life, you must consider vegetarianism or at least increase your intake or raw foods and fiber. Along with weight loss benefits, a vegetarian diet can increase our energy levels and reduce risk of chronic diseases. Isn’t that worth considering?