Eat Plants, Tackle Obesity

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has just released a position statement urging the government to show leadership on the issue of obesity, which it describes as “the biggest public health challenge facing Australia”. Twenty-five per cent of Australian children are overweight or obese, as are some 60 per cent of adults. Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, musculoskeletal diseases, and impaired social functioning, and it costs the economy over $8 billion a year in lost productivity and health costs.

Key planks in the AMA’s strategy are “improved nutritional literacy” and subsidies for healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables.

Organisations such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in the US tell us we should fill our plates with veggies and other high-fibre foods so that we feel too full to eat the fatty stuff.

“People who avoid meat cut their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, and those who also avoid dairy products and eggs are healthiest of all”.

– PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, MS, RD.

Going vegan is the best way to combat obesity and related diseases. Research shows that vegans are a whopping nine times less likely to be obese than meat-eaters and are far less prone to suffering from chronic diseases.

In general, it’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight if you eat vegan foods, because they tend to be naturally low in fat and calories. They’re often also high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, which help boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories. The European Prospective Investigation found that vegans have the lowest average body mass index and meat-eaters the highest.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines also support a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and other plant foods. They’re not only nutritious but also delicious. If you want to slim down and improve your health, eat healthful meat-free meals. Opt for veggie burgers rather than hamburgers, soy sausage instead of pork sausage, and curried chickpeas over fried chicken.

Inspired to try plant-based eating for yourself?