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Vegetarians, Vegans Slimmer Than Meat Eaters

by Sandy Todd Webster on Dec 20, 2013

Food for Thought

If you believe a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, this research might give you pause. Researchers from Loma Linda University Health System in Loma Linda, California, recently published a study showing that despite similar caloric intake, vegetarians tend to have lower body mass index than nonvegetarians, with vegans being the most slender of all.

In the December 2012 edition of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2013; doi: 1016/j.jand.2013.06.349), research on more than 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists compared the subjects’ five dietary patterns: nonvegetarians (meat eaters), semivegetarians (occasional meat eaters), pescovegetarians (people who consume fish), lactoovo vegetarians (people who consume dairy products) and vegans (strict vegetarians).

Subjects had similar energy intake—about 2,000 calories per day— except for semivegetarians, who took in 1,707 kcal per day.

“There was a clear association between higher proportions of obesity, higher BMI averages and dietary patterns characterized by progressively higher intakes of meat and dairy products,” said the study’s first author, Nico Rizzo, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of nutrition at Loma Linda University School of Public Health. “These marked differences in BMI are of particular interest given that total energy intakes were similar between dietary patterns, and mean macronutrient composition and micronutrient intakes were markedly different between the dietary patterns.”

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.