A new study shows that vegans of all ages tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and are generally leaner than their meat-eating counterparts. People who eat eggs and dairy products—but not meat—frequently have higher BMIs than vegans do, while meat-eaters have the highest average BMIs of all!
It’s no big surprise, really. No one—young or old—is going to stay slim if they eat a lot of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, or grilled cheese sandwiches, even if they chase them down with diet sodas. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight if you eat vegan foods rather than eating animal-based ones because most plant-based foods are naturally low in fat and calories. They’re also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which help boost your metabolism so that you burn more calories.
There are heavy vegans and slim meat-eaters, of course, but previous research shows that meat-eaters are a whopping nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are. And it’s not just adults who are likely to be … well, bigger. Childhood obesity is a huge problem that has increased steadily in the past two decades. One out of three kids in the United States is now overweight.
The study authors agree that feeding kids a plant-based diet is a sensible way to prevent childhood obesity, which is a precursor to adult obesity and contributes to coronary heart disease, strokes, and other life-threatening diseases. According to the late Dr. Benjamin Spock, “Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.”
If the children and young adults in your life need help slimming down, urge them to try nutritious, low-fat vegan foods, such as vegetable soup, bean burritos, vegetarian chili, and veggie burgers. Many cookies and potato chips are vegan, but that doesn’t mean that they are nutritious or low in calories, so make sure that they use common sense and snack sensibly!
If you need to slim down, be sure to take PETA’s Pledge to Be Vegan for 30 Days.