Fruits and veggies love you, they want what’s best for you, and they’re in it for the long haul. A major study has shown that over a 30 year period, people who eat more plants stay healthier and trimmer - even if they still eat meat, too.
Want to maintain a healthy weight for life? Eat more plants.
That’s the message from a major Dutch study. Scientists at Erasmus University in Rotterdam looked at diet and health data for almost 10,000 adults over a 30 year period, including their BMI, waist circumference and body fat percentage as well as their diets.
Participants were awarded points for eating fruit, vegetables and nuts, and deducted points for eating meat, dairy and fish. So the more closely they followed a plant-based diet, the higher the score.
The results: People with the highest plant-eating scores were more likely to have a lower BMI – a healthy weight – over the long term. They also had lower waist circumference and lower body fat than average. The link between eating more plants and staying at a healthy weight was still strong after accounting for other factors that can influence weight, like total energy intake and levels of physical activity.
And here’s the really interesting bit: the researchers insist that you can get to those ‘high scoring’ diets without going vegan – or even vegetarian. You just need to add fruits and veggies whenever you can. You’re doing even better if you can make some smart trade-offs, like regularly swapping 50g of red meat for 200g of vegetables.
So the message for all of us who struggle with the idea of giving up meat and dairy completely? Every step counts. Just choose fruits and veggies wherever you can, aiming to reach at least five cup-sized servings a day, and you’re already well on your way to a longer life - and a trimmer waist, too!