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A Vegetarian Diet’s Hidden Gifts and Super Traps

A Vegetarian Diet’s Hidden Gifts and Super Traps

If you think switching to a no-meat diet will take pounds off quicker than Gypsy Rose Lee shed her costume (about which she said -- “I wasn’t naked, I was completely covered by a blue spotlight”), think about this: What do you call someone who eats nothing but macaroni and cheese from a box? A lacto-vegetarian. (Although not a very healthy one.)

There’s a study highlighting the weight-loss virtues of a plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet. Researchers at George Washington University School of Medicine found you may drop 7.5 to 10 pounds relatively quickly without counting calories. However, you need to realize that you can go all-veggie these days and still end up eating nothing but nutritionally-deficient, processed foods that won’t reduce belly fat, give you more energy or help you lose weight!

A healthy vegetarian diet focuses on foods with lots of nutrients, fiber, healthy fats and no added sugars and trans fats (prepared foods are loaded with them). You want to enjoy a wide array of starchy (not too many!) and non-starchy veggies, lots of greens and legumes and plenty of fruit. And make sure to get enough B12 (you’ll almost certainly need a supplement), protein (beans, nuts, many grains) and vitamin D (try 15 minutes of daily sunshine). Then you’ll gain the big health benefits of a well-designed veggie diet: lower blood lipids, increased insulin sensitivity, lower risk of cancer and improved heart health -- and you’ll shed some extra pounds.  

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