Eating less meat could be the new Mantra for Fitness
Written By:Neha Gargi
23 Aug, 2010 - 12:24am
In the coming days eating less meat (evening switching to a vegetarian diet) could be the new mantra in the fitness world. A European study of over 370,000 people shows that greater level of meat consumption leads to a greater weight gain in both men and women. The finding is in contrary to the popular belief that eating meat leads to weight loss. A number of universities in Europe and Imperial College, London were involved in this five year long research. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It included men and women across ten countries in Europe. The researchers aimed to assess the associations between weight gain and the consumption of red meat, poultry, processed meat and overall meat consumption. To achieve a proper feedback, the researchers used country specific questionnaires in different languages to assess the diet at the beginning of the study. The questionnaires were further crosschecked for accuracy by directly observing the actual diets of a sample of participants. Other important factors such as weight and height were also measured at the time of the questionnaire.
The associations between energy from meat (kcal per day) and annual weight change (grams per year) were the main focus of the researchers. Age, sex, total energy intake, physical activity, dietary patterns and other potential factors were also taken into account that could affect weight loss or weight gain in an individual. The research suggests that an intake of 250g of meat per day would lead to an additional weight gain of about 2kg of weight after five years. It applies to men and women as well as smokers and non-smokers. Some of the interesting findings were that people from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Netherlands consumed more meat than Greece and Oxford.
The final verdict of the report says that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management which is also in accordance with the recommendation of public health.
Processed meat such as sausages, bacon and ham are more fattening than other forms of meat was another conclusion derived from the report. The large size of this study and a high response rate from the participants for over five years suggests that the results are reliable and relevant to both Europe and UK. The study also provides the best data so far looking at how meat eating relates to weight gain. However, it is worth noticing that the gain or loss in weight was self reported by the participants after the first assessment. Also, a change in diet of the participants after the completion of questionnaire was not followed which could have lead to inaccuracies. Some of the research centers only selected women which again may have distorted the results slightly.
All said and done, for now the best dietary practice seems to be to include lean meat in your diet and avoid processed meat till a new research says otherwise. As natural in its form the food the more healthy you would be.