Foods that are bad for us seem to taste better, but what they are doing to our bodies is anything but good. Eating foods rich in sugar, carbohydrates, and fats raises our cholesterol, blood pressure, and pants size. Adding weight to our bodies puts pressure on our joints, and many overweight people often have knee pain and shoulder pain. Doctors in sports medicine often find that joint pains are a result of poor diets.
Every New Year, millions of people vow to eat better, exercise more, work on a fitness plan, and lose weight. By February, most of the people are back to their old habits. Counting calories is a pain and makes us feel deprived. It can be disheartening to quit eating things we like for results that take a long time to appear.
For those that hate counting calories, monitoring their portions, and waiting to feel better, researchers may have the answer. They have found that those on plant-based vegan or vegetarian diets lose more weight than those who count calories. It is important to note these are plant-based diets, as much of our “junk food” does not contain animal products. Those that abstain from meat, but eat cookies, chips, and bread will not lose much weight.
Vegan diets can seem strict as no animal products are consumed including: fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, or honey. Vegans consume grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, and specialty vegan foods. A raw vegan diet is more restrictive as no foods are allowed to be cooked above 118 degrees.
Vegetarians, for the most part, abstain from eating animal flesh, but still eat milk, eggs, honey, and other by-products of animals, but the bulk of their diet is found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and beans. Eliminating processed foods and meat enable the dieter to lose weight because they are concentrating their eating efforts on foods that are good for the body. While there is a chance for malnutrition for some of the more strict vegans, speaking with a nutritionist and a second opinion from a doctor should occur before implementing a diet such as this.
Susan Levin, director of nutrition education at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine is one of the researchers reviewing 15 studies on plant based diets. The diets were intended to help patients with diabetes, chronic pain, weight loss, and other health concerns.
They monitored people put on a vegetarian or vegan diet for at least a month, and the results were not surprising. The average amount lost was almost 7.5 pounds, and this includes patients would didn’t stick to the diet. Those who did keep to a vegetarian or vegan diet lost over 10 pounds. Those eating high fiber, and low fat plant based diets had more energy, lost more weight, and complained less of chronic pain.
If you have questions about a healthy life style or managing an injury, contact our sports medicine experts at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego to schedule an evaluation.