Many population health studies are showing that people who eat significant amounts of beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils tend to weigh less and live longer. A good example is research done by Dan Buettner showing Blue Zones regions of the world where people live much longer than average. A plant-based pattern of eating reveals populations of people with slimmer waists, less obesity and lower blood pressure. Reducing abdominal fat may be the best way to prevent prediabetes from turning into full blown diabetes. Calorie cutting has been the foundation of most weight loss strategies, but evidence suggests that the majority of individuals who lose weight by portion control tend to regain it. Starving oneself never works for very long. And eating more food to get the same weight loss benefit feels like a contradiction.
So, let’s talk a minute about food quality. The advantage of a whole-food, plant-based approach to weight loss can reduce the need for strict portion control, skipping meals and even counting calories, because most plant foods are naturally dense and low in calories.
When comparing the amount of food that can be consumed in a 100-calorie serving size, plant-based foods far exceed animal-based foods for calories by volume. For example, the following all contain 100 calories: 3.2 cups of raw broccoli, 2.7 cups of tomatoes, 1.5 cups of strawberries, 2.5 ounces of grilled chicken breast, ~1 ounce cheese and 1.4 ounces of beef. And the health benefits of fiber from plant-based sources for gastrointestinal health is well-documented.
The Center for Disease Control has reported that only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables. Depending on age and gender, adults should consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day as part of a healthy eating pattern. So, to leave you with something practical, here are some tips for moving toward a plant-based pattern of eating:
- Include fruits or vegetables in snacks
- Leave fresh fruit in sight
- Make soups that include beans, peas and vegetables
- Eat in living color
- Always include a fruit or vegetable in meal planning
- Mix vegetables and fruits with dark greens for healthy salads
- Mix vegetables and fruits in smoothies
- Alter recipes like lasagna and sub vegetables for meat
Let a Wellview Health Registered Dietitian support you in healthy eating patterns that are evidence-based for good health and tasty as well! Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– SHERREE TELFORD, RD LDN CDE CHWC
Director of Specialized Solutions | Email Sherree