This week in health news: Vegetarians are skinnier than meat-eaters


People who go plant-based tend to be skinnier. Credit: Metro File
People who go plant-based tend to be thinner.
Credit: Metro File

Vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters

Location of study:

Study subjects: 71,751 people

Results: Despite eating the same amount of calories, vegetarians tend to have lower BMI than non-vegetarians, with vegans being the most slender of all, according to researchers from Loma Linda University. The study, which will be published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, noted that although low dietary intakes of vitamin B-12 and D, calcium, n-3 fatty acids, iron and zinc in strict vegetarians had been a concern, vegetarians’ intake of these nutrients was above minimum requirements.

Significance: This is more evidence supporting the argument to go meat-free.


Wild blueberries are bursting with heart-healthy compounds

Location of study: Germany and the UK

Study subjects: 21 healthy men, aged 18-40

Results: Wild blueberries are being touted as boosters to vascular function, helping the heart pump blood through the body, according to European researchers. Healthy, elastic blood vessels help push blood through the body, which means that the heart doesn’t have to work so hard. Researchers specified that wild blueberries, which are high in polyphenols, have a more positive effect over commercially grown fruit. They also said that as little as 3/4 cup of wild blueberries — about the amount contained in a smoothie — was all it took for a positive impact.

Significance:  Easing the heart’s workload might decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The heart’s blood vessels are also an indicator of overall vascular health.


Debit card-only payment school cafeterias may add to childhood obesity problem

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 2,314 students

Results: A new study claims school cafeterias that accept only electronic payments unwittingly promote consumption of more junk food, and in greater amounts. The study, conducted by Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics, is published in the journal, Obesity. Behavioral economists David Just and Brian Wansink found that students in first through 12th grades at debit/cash cafeterias consumed about 721 calories for lunch, compared with 752 calories at debit-only schools.

Significance: About 80 percent of schools use debit cards or accounts that parents can add money to for cafeteria lunch transactions. Adopting cash-only policites for snack foods like cookies and chips would “encourage students to think twice before making their selection,” say Just and Wansink.


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