What is your opinion on a vegetarian diet? I've heard many people say they feel much better when they give up meat.
Eating a vegetarian diet can be good or bad, depending on how you approach it (we don’t recommend going vegetarian, read on to find out why).
If you approach it by the book and choose healthful vegetarian fare, then it can be good, assuming the dieter gets enough B12 and essential fatty acids such as the Omega-3's.
But, if your idea of vegetarian fare is eggplant parmesan, pizza, pita chips, or soda, then you’re more likely to end up with the body type of another famous vegetarian, Forest Whitaker.
Loved you in Last King of Scotland and Bird, by the way.
The reason most people feel better on vegetarian diets is two-fold
First, the reality is that most people eat like crap. So when they eliminate “meat”, what they end up eliminating the junky foods they used to eat that were meat-based – hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken wings, etc.
Once they adopt a vegetarian diet, the typical person’s consumption of fruit and vegetables increases dramatically. Given these two factors, it’s no wonder people tend to feel better when adopting a vegetarian lifestyle.
That being said,
I don’t advocate vegetarian diets for people looking to lose weight
Here’s a brief summary:
The evidence that humans were not meant to eat meat are not supported by anthropological science. Meat consumption isn’t correlated with higher incidence of disease.
In fact, studies suggest the opposite is true (that meat eaters tend to live stronger, healthier lives than vegetarians).
You don’t need to eliminate meat in order to lose weight
Eating vegetarian doesn’t automatically mean you’re eating healthfully or even well. In fact, many vegetarians are overfat.
If you’re thinking of tucking into a vegetarian diet to improve your health or lose weight (i.e., you’re NOT doing it for philosophical or ethical reasons), take these four steps instead:
- Eat more vegetables, especially green leafy ones.
- Eat fruits, preferably local and in-season.
- Eliminate the crappy junky food you would’ve anyway.
- And stop feeling guilty when you eat your meat.
– Eugene Thong CSCS