Veg Diets are Healthier, and Promoting Them Pays Off Long-term
When faced with patients who are in need of dietary advice, doctors and nutritionists have a variety of different options to consider. There are so many variations of omnivorous diets, in addition to vegetarian and vegan diets, that can be suggested to people, but it is often a matter of trying to understand what kinds of diets these people will actually follow versus what they should follow. In some cases, doctors may recommend different meat-based diets because they believe their patients will adhere to them better than if they suggested something else.
A study from the journal Eating Behaviors notes that dietary preference (what people want to eat) has been shown to have an impact on adherence to a diet and overall weight loss. However, it says that tailoring a health diet to what a patient wants to eat may be less effective than simply asking them to adhere to something not normally preferred. The present study was one of the first randomized, controlled trials to look at adherence, acceptability, and other factors surrounding a veg and omni diets.
With all of these controls in place, the researchers found that something interesting happened. Though the conventional wisdom is the view that “most people have trouble sticking to restrictive diets,” the study actually found a similar dietary adherence to a range of veg and omnivore diets. The researchers discovered that people assigned veg diets had bigger drops in cholesterol and weight loss, and that, overall, “instructing participants to follow plant-based approaches for weight loss may have greater benefits than providing instruction in approaches that contain meat,” even if the veg diet group did not strictly follow the diet.
For advocates, this is yet another study showing that a less restrictive approach might be useful in addressing health concerns. Ethical concerns are, of course, another matter.