Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the adult obesity prevalence rate in America is nearing 40 percent, while that of children under the age of 18 is over 17 percent. This means that more than half of the people in the U.S. are obese. In fact, two-thirds of the population — 66 percent — is classified as either obese or overweight, with more people being obese than overweight. This highlights America’s proclivity to overindulge as well as the poor quality of food consumed.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of at least 30. With obesity being associated with so many serious illnesses and diseases, it has become apparent that Americans have to confront and defeat this epidemic. There are a number of ways of managing your weight such as diet and exercise. As a general rule, diet models have been designed around the concept of counting calories; however, there are new studies that reveal eating certain food types while excluding others can have an immense impact on your BMI.
Understanding the Dynamic of Weight Loss
There is a simple and lucid understanding among health and fitness professionals concerning the formula for weight loss. In simple, you must place your body in caloric deficit (consuming less calories than you are burning during any given period) in order to lose weight and reduce your body mass index. The primary methods of weight management are associated with the dietary and active aspects of life. The metabolism — the rate at which your body burns calories — can be managed through both methods.
The New Model
When it comes to weight loss via dietary control, the method of calorie counting has been the primary focus. This dietary philosophy asserts that in order to lose a pound of fat you must burn 3,500 calories. With this in mind, many experts build dietary plans that focus on creating a 500 calorie per day deficit. These plans also consider the fact that most health and fitness professionals stand on the premise that a safe rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week.
There are an increasing amount of studies that are beginning to surface that indicate that there may be a new and efficacious model that can be used in lieu of calorie counting. A study conducted by the University of Oxford presented empirical evidence that vegetarians (those who maintain diets that exclude meat, poultry and fish) and vegans (those who maintain the vegetarian diet but also exclude eggs and dairy products) tend to have lower BMI ratios.
Based on this study, vegetarians and vegans who live in Western countries and are well-educated on maintaining proper nutritional levels — on average — have a lower BMI and plasma cholesterol concentration than those who are non-vegetarians.
As a general rule, a vegetarian diet consists of a relatively large amounts of nuts, cereals, vegetables, fruits and other carbohydrates, and they are low in protein, long-chain fatty acids, retinol, saturated fat and vitamin B-12.
Although there has not been any clear evidence produced that presents a direct correlation with veganism and lower cancer risks, many experts are postulating that there will be pragmatic and empirical evidence forthcoming. Their confidence in this area is based on pass studies that show simply maintaining a healthy weight will help lower the risks of diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, etc.
It is clear that more data will be necessary to draw a definitive correlation between vegetarianism and veganism and numerous health conditions. What is clear at this point is the fact that vegans and vegetarians spend less time focusing on calorie consumption and more on maintaining a strict diet of certain of foods.
Restricting one’s diet to a specific type of food such and vegetables, fruits and nuts creates an organic situation in which it becomes more difficult to over-consume as far as calories are concerned. One of the primary reasons behind this phenomenon is the fact that vegetables and fruits are generally high in nutritional content while being low in caloric content. Most foods that are excluded from the vegan and vegetarian diets are often high in caloric content while being low in nutritional content. By simply converting to a vegan or vegetarian diet you can have a massive impact on your BMI and overall health.
There are some that are concerned that giving up those foods that are excluded from vegetarian and vegan diets will create a protein deficiency. The truth is that most experienced and educated vegetarians and vegans are able to ensure that they have adequate protein intake. It is important to understand that you can also assume hybrid vegetarian lifestyles such as that of a pesco-vegetarian. Pesco-vegetarians follow the same dietary guidelines as vegetarians – with one exception – they also consume fish. There are numerous benefits to consuming many types of fish when the dish is properly prepared. One major benefit is the high level of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
The key here is to understand that you have other options to help manage your BMI other than calorie counting. With the proper guidance, assuming a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can prolong your life as well as improve the quality of it.