Want to be lean for life? A plant-based diet, combined with regular exercise, may be the magic combination to a lifetime of maintaining a healthy weight.
A study published this month in Nutrition Journal assessed the consumption habits of 1,764 children ages six to 19 in an effort to uncover patterns that lead to obesity. The researchers deduced that the current child and adolescent overweight epidemic is a consequence of excessive or inadequate consumption of specific food groups: In short, kids who ate whole grains, nuts and vegetables tended to be lighter than those who avoided them and instead ate full-fat dairy and processed foods. No significant correlations between obesity and meat, fish, egg or fruit intake were found.
See also: Making Veganism Accessible
“Several plausible reasons exist to explain why nut consumption is not associated with increased BMI, including increased resting metabolic rate, enhanced satiety and corresponding decreased intake of other foods, and incomplete absorption of energy from nuts,” study authors wrote. While nuts are high in calories and fat, many varieties tend to be low in artery-clogging saturated and trans fats; furthermore, it’s the combination of protein and fiber that provide long-lasting satisfaction.
This study was conducted to support the anti-childhood obesity campaign. Schools in Los Angeles county appear to be listening: The school system recently eliminated flavored milk and foods like corn dogs and chicken nuggets, and replaced them with sushi and vegetarian options.
Looking for ways to include more plants and whole grains in your family’s diet? Pack everyone’s lunch with a nutritional update on the classic PB&J: Replace the white bread with whole wheat slices (strive for ingredients you can recognize and buy 100 percent whole wheat), use any type of all-natural nut butter you like—the healthiest picks are almond and peanut—and replace the high-sugar jelly with mashed berries or banana slices.
Homepage image by John Segesta.