Obesity: the cause and cure

     "Currently, 64.5 percent of U.S. adults, age 20 years and older, are overweight and 30.5 percent are obese.  Severe obesity prevalence is now 4.7 percent"

     Why are people, and no other species of animal, plump, fat, obese, or morbidly obese?

     They eat too much!  Although a reflex response, popular among the obese, is: "I don't eat that much!", the unavoidable chemical reality is that every atom of every molecule of excess fat, artery-clogging cholesterol, cellulite, and other toxic loads of the body enter the body on a fork.  Yes, you did eat exactly that much!  Since the fork is controlled by the intellect, and the intellect can make valid decisions based on valid information, easy weight loss is the result of the intellect having the correct information and applying it in a rational manner.

     So, the only way to lose excess weight, and become more healthy in the general sense, is to examine the causes of why people overeat, and remove the causes.  Then, as overeating is significantly reduced, or eliminated entirely, the body, which is programmed at the genetic level to be perfectly healthy, will automatically eliminate the excess weight.  It is just that easy.

     What are the causes of overeating?  There are two main causes: physical; i.e., eating the local cultural diet, and psychological/emotional conditioning.  It is easier to work on the physical diet first, but interestingly, the psychological conditioning done by mother sticking a bottle in baby's mouth at every sign of discomfort or vocalization, and the common tactic of evading emotional or otherwise stressful issues by overeating consciousness-deadening "foods", tend to automatically reduce themselves as the physical dietary work is done.  After the physical work is substantially done, the emotional reprogramming becomes easy.  Without serious and permanent dietary reform, lasting weight loss is impossible, as all too many diet cultists discover, over and over again.

     It is a fundamental Law of Nature that each species has a unique and specific diet for which its physiology and biochemistry is perfectly adapted.  All animals, except the human, eat by instinct; the human, however, to its profound detriment, eats by cultural conditioning, and that is the cause of human disease, including obesity.  Neither human ignorance or human arrogance can break or evade this law, or the underlying laws of biochemistry, just as ignorance of the Law of Gravity does NOT allow one to fly.

     So, the only easy, rapid, and successful approach to losing excess weight, obesity being only one symptom of poor health, and getting healthy in the general sense, is to abandon the local cultural diet and move intelligently toward the natural diet for our species.  What is the natural diet for our species?

     All available scientific evidence indicates that humans are frugivorous apes.  Regardless of how large and arrogant our cultural egos are, and regardless of unsupportable religious dogma created by ignorant people who knew absolutely nothing of biochemistry, comparative anatomy, genetics, or science thousands of years ago, our physiology is that of a frugivorous ape.  Recent genetic research has confirmed this reality by discovering that our "genetic distance" from the chimpanzee, our closest relative, is a mere 1.6%.[1]  We most certainly do not have any adaptations of the natural carnivore or omnivore: no sharp pointy teeth or claws, and of critical importance, culturally-conditioned human carnivores do not run down, kill, tear asunder, and eat their flesh raw, as all natural carnivores or omnivores do.  If humans had 'adapted' to flesh-eating, as is falsely claimed by some who can never provide any substantiation when challenged, then we would have the both the physical equipment and instincts necessary to outrun, kill, tear asunder, and eat raw flesh; yet we do not!  Thus, no such 'adaptation' ever occurred!  

     Further, current epidemiological evidence indicates that human consumption of animal proteins and fats is responsible for all the currently popular "degenerative diseases", including: arthritis, cancer [2,3], cardiovascular disease [4], diabetes, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and further, that health is substantially increased and mortality is substantially decreased on a plant-based, or vegan diet.

     So, given that the human is a frugivorous ape most closely related to the chimpanzee, let's look at the average chimp diet for some insight.  Goodall [5] gives an average chimp diet as:

Item    % time
in gathering
Fruit 59
Leaves 21
Seeds 9
Blossoms 5
Flesh 1.5
Insects 0.7
Misc. 4

     Recognizing that chimp flesh-eating is purely a social, most certainly not a nutritional, activity and eliminating insects, blossoms (not obtainable), and miscellaneous (unknown), we get a reasonable approximation of a healthy, natural, raw human diet as:


     Interestingly, most people who experiment with their diet enough to get to the point of being raw-fooders come to approximately this diet by experience.  And with more experience, they discover that nuts/seeds are best diluted with large amounts of leafy greens so as to be digested well.  They are simple too concentrated in protein and fat to be digestible on their own, as the chart below indicates.  Further, nuts/seeds have large amounts of fat which coats the chewed particles and insulates them from the aqueous digestive juices.

     It is also of critical importance to understand that all species of life on this planet, including the human, evolved on a totally raw diet, and cooking makes it possible to eat many things not possible to eat raw: meat and other animal products, dried beans/legumes, grains, and eggs; and these unnatural items dominate in cultural diets.  Moreover, with the exception of nuts/seeds, all excessively-concentrated cultural "foods" are those that must be cooked.  A rational and simple way to lose all excess weight would be to throw your stove away.

     Although calories are a bogus, intentionally-misleading concept when applied to nutrition, let's look at the calorie and macronutrient compositions of various human cultural "foods" and compare them to the composition of human milk.  Why human milk?  Because the suckling human infant is growing new tissue and new bone at the most rapid rate of its entire life, therefore its nutritional needs are at a maximum, and this may be used to set a healthful upper limit on nutrient needs.  The human adult, not growing new tissue, is only maintaining existing tissue and therefore adult nutritional needs, on a per-pound bodyweight basis, are considerably less than that of the the infant.  This is not generally known, nor taken into account.  

  In fact, adult protein RDA is ~1/3, and adult energy RDA is ~1/4, that of the infant, according to standard RDA charts.


Nutrient Density: comparison of various "foods".

NOTE: cal= calories, pro = protein, cho = carbohydrate

  cal/100g pro/100g fat/100g cho/100g times adult RDA, cal times adult RDA, total macronutrients
Human milk 69 1 4.4 6.9 3 3
fruits 30-74 0.2-2.2 0-1.1 6-33 1.3-3.2 1.5-8.9
leafy vegs 11-34 1.3-4.2 0-0.8 1.3-7.0 0.5-1.5 0.6-1.4
nuts/seeds 131-719 3.0-33 2.2-80 9.4-81 5.7-31 3.6-47
banana 92 1 0.5 23.4 4 6
roots, e.g. potato 78-333 1.4-4.4 0.1-18.7 14.5-46 3.4-15 3.9-17
beef 132-471 10.6-36 3.8-42 0.5-7.8 5.7-21 3.6-21
ribs, pork 296 23.9 21.5 0 12.7 8.9
cheeses 72.4-466 7.6-42 1.0-36 0.4-43 3.1-20 2.2-30
fish, breaded/fried 232 14.7 12.3 17.0 10.1 10.7
eggs, fried 199 13.5 15 1.4 8.7 7.3
breads 195-418 5.2-12 1.2-11 40-68 8.5-18 11.3-22
white rice 130 2.4 0.2 28.7 5.7 7.6
brown rice 111 2.6 0.9 23.0 4.8 6.4
beans, kidney, ckd 127 8.7 0.5 22.8 5.5 7.8
pasta w/sauce 104 3.8 3.6 14.2 4.5 5.1
pizza, pepperoni 255 14.3 9.8 28 11.1 12.7
cow milk 64 3.3 3.7 4.7 2.8 2.9
cheeseburger 273 14.7 16.9 15.4 11.9 11.5
french fries, plain 342 4.3 18.4 39.8 14.9 15.2
hot dog 247 10.6 14.8 18.4 10.1 10.7
potato chips 496 8.5 27.2 57.7 21.6 22.9
corn chips 523 7.0 5.2 56.2 22.7 16.7
ice cream 216 3.8 11.0 28.2 9.4 10.5
chocolate 552 4.9 32.4 60.6 24 23.9
M&M's, plain 492 4.3 21.1 71.2 21.4 23.6

     Thus, we can easily see why a simple diet of raw fruits, vegetables, and a limited amount of nuts/seeds will adequately supply proper nutrition for the human adult, while eliminating overeating and its inevitable result, obesity.  Further, that most common, cultural "foods" supply huge excesses of nutrients and thus lead to obesity.  Note that most cultural "foods", here marked in red, have nutrient densities from 5-20+ times that necessary for our true nutritional requirements; this is the reason they lead to obesity and other "degenerative diseases".

     This is meant to be a conceptual insight into the highly excessive amounts of nutrients contained in cooked, cultural diets and the cause of human obesity.  For a practical application, it is necessary to understand how improving diet will produce 'cleansing reactions', the sometimes spectacular expulsions of large amounts of stored toxins and waste products which comprise the excessive bodyweight, and how to manage them on a daily basis.


[1]Primate Genetic Distance and Chromosomes  More evolutionary evidence.

[5]  Goodall, Jane, The Chimpanzees of Gombe, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA (1986), p. 233

Being fat makes you stupid?
Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Nov;78(5):920-7
Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women.
Liu S, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB, Rosner B, Colditz G.
Division of Preventive Medicine and the Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA. siminliu@hsph.harvard.edu

  BACKGROUND: Although increased consumption of dietary fiber and grain products is widely recommended to maintain healthy body weight, little is known about the relation of whole grains to body weight and long-term weight changes.
  OBJECTIVE: We examined the associations between the intakes of dietary fiber and whole- or refined-grain products and weight gain over time.
  DESIGN: In a prospective cohort study, 74,091 US female nurses, aged 38-63 y in 1984 and free of known cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes at baseline, were followed from 1984 to 1996; their dietary habits were assessed in 1984, 1986, 1990, and 1994 with validated food-frequency questionnaires. Using multiple models to adjust for covariates, we calculated average weight, body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)), long-term weight changes, and the odds ratio of developing obesity (BMI > or = 30) according to change in dietary intake.
  RESULTS: Women who consumed more whole grains consistently weighed less than did women who consumed less whole grains (P for trend < 0.0001). Over 12 y, those with the greatest increase in intake of dietary fiber gained an average of 1.52 kg less than did those with the smallest increase in intake of dietary fiber (P for trend < 0.0001) independent of body weight at baseline, age, and changes in covariate status. Women in the highest quintile of dietary fiber intake had a 49% lower risk of major weight gain than did women in the highest quintile (OR = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.39, 0.67; P < 0.0001 for trend).
  CONCLUSION: Weight gain was inversely associated with the intake of high-fiber, whole-grain foods but positively related to the intake of refined-grain foods, which indicated the importance of distinguishing whole-grain products from refined-grain products to aid in weight control.

PMID: 14594777

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):850S-857S.
Sugars, energy metabolism, and body weight control.
Saris WH. Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute (NUTRIM), University of Maastricht, Maastricht, Netherlands. w.saris@hb.unimaas.nl

  Obesity represents a major threat to health and quality of life. Although obesity has strong genetic determinants, it is generally accepted that it results from an imbalance between food intake and daily physical activity. Health guidelines have been focused on 3 particular lifestyle factors: increased levels of physical activity and reductions in the intakes of fat and sugars. The dietary guidelines, especially, are under debate. This review covers evidence from carefully controlled laboratory studies, clinical trials, studies in populations at high risk of developing obesity, and epidemiologic studies on the role of sugars, particularly sucrose, in the development of obesity. Although many environmental factors promote a positive energy balance, it is clear that the consumption of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet increases the likelihood of weight gain. The evidence related to carbohydrate, particularly sugars, and the type of food (solid or liquid) is less clear because the number of long-term ad libitum dietary intervention trials is very small. Data on sucrose intake in relation to metabolism and weight gain do not associate high consumption of sucrose with the prevalence of obesity. [Although there are other good reasons to minimize the amount of sucrose (table sugar) consumption - ljf] The evidence supports the current dietary guidelines for reducing fat intake. However, the effect of the carbohydrate source and class and of the form in which carbohydrate is consumed (solid or liquid) on body weight control requires further consideration.

PMID: 14522749

Am J Clin Nutr 2003 Jun;77(6):1417-1425
Dietary patterns and changes in body mass index and waist circumference in adults.
Newby P, Muller D, Hallfrisch J, Qiao N, Andres R, Tucker KL Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston (PKN, NQ, and KLT), and the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore (DM, JH, and RA).

  BACKGROUND: Obesity has increased > 20% in the past decade in the United States, and more than one-half of US adults are overweight or obese.
  OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to further elucidate the nutritional etiology of changes in body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) and waist circumference by dietary intake pattern. We hypothesized that a healthy dietary pattern would lead to smaller changes in BMI and waist circumference than would other dietary patterns.
  DESIGN: Subjects were 459 healthy men and women participating in the ongoing Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Diet was assessed with the use of 7-d dietary records, from which 41 food groups were created and entered into a cluster analysis.
  RESULTS: Five dietary patterns were derived (healthy, white bread, alcohol, sweets, and meat and potatoes). The mean annual change in BMI was 0.30 +/- 0.06 for subjects in the meat-and-potatoes cluster and 0.05 +/- 0.06 for those in the healthy cluster (P < 0.01). The mean annual change in waist circumference was more than 3 times as great for subjects in the white-bread cluster (1.32 +/- 0.29 cm) as for those in the healthy cluster (0.43 +/- 0.27 cm) (P < 0.05).
  CONCLUSIONS: Consuming a diet high in fruit, vegetables, reduced-fat dairy, and whole grains and low in red and processed meat, fast food, and soda was associated with smaller gains in BMI and waist circumference. Because foods are not consumed in isolation, dietary pattern research based on natural eating behavior may be useful in understanding dietary causes of obesity and in helping individuals trying to control their weight.

PMID: 12791618

Am J Clin Nutr 2002 Jul;76(1):107-12
Food intake and meal patterns of weight-stable and weight-gaining persons.
Pearcey SM, De Castro JM Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA (SMP), and Georgia State University, Atlanta (JMC).

  BACKGROUND: Weight gain is a result of changes in the regulation of short-term meal-to-meal intake. An investigation of the short-term intake and activity levels of weight-gaining persons may provide insight into the nature of the cues signaling weight gain.
  OBJECTIVE: The basic hypothesis was that the investigation of energy balance during periods of dynamic weight gain should provide clues to the regulatory differences that result in obesity.
  DESIGN: The eating behavior and activity levels of 19 weight-gaining men and women and of weight-stable, matched control subjects were compared with the use of 7-d diet diaries. Participants recorded their activity levels, everything that they ate or drank, and the environmental and psychological factors surrounding each eating episode for 7 consecutive days.
  RESULTS: The weight-gaining group ingested 1645 kJ/d more than did the weight-stable group because of a greater consumption of carbohydrate and fat and larger meal sizes.
  CONCLUSION: The greater food intake in the weight-gaining group did not result from environmental, social, or psychological factors, suggesting that the overeating associated with weight gain might be physiologically based. [Nonsense - the study did NOT remove the social/psychological conditioning to eat the local cultural diet, which is far too calorie-dense and the singular cause for the current epidemic of obesity-ljf]

PMID: 12081823

Am J Clin Nutr 2002 Jun;75(6):971-7
Trends of obesity and underweight in older children and adolescents in the United States, Brazil, China, and Russia.
Wang Y, Monteiro C, Popkin BM Carolina Population Center, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27516-3997, USA.

  BACKGROUND: Few studies have used the same references across countries to examine the trends of over- and underweight in older children and adolescents.
  OBJECTIVE: Using international references, we examined the trends of overweight and underweight in young persons aged 6-18 y from 4 countries.
  DESIGN: Nationally representative data from Brazil (1975 and 1997), Russia (1992 and 1998), and the United States (1971-1974 and 1988-1994) and nationwide survey data from China (1991 and 1997) were used. To define overweight, we used the sex- and age-specific body mass index cutoffs recommended by the International Obesity Task Force. The sex- and age-specific body mass index fifth percentile from the first US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was used to define underweight.
  RESULTS: The prevalence of overweight increased during the study periods in Brazil (from 4.1 to 13.9), China (from 6.4 to 7.7), and the United States (from 15.4 to 25.6); underweight decreased in Brazil (from 14.8 to 8.6), China (from 14.5 to 13.1), and the United States (from 5.1 to 3.3). In Russia, overweight decreased (from 15.6 to 9.0) and underweight increased (from 6.9 to 8.1). The annual rates of increase in the prevalence of overweight were 0.5% (Brazil), 0.2% (China), -1.1% (Russia), and 0.6% (United States).
  CONCLUSIONS: The burden of nutritional problems is shifting from energy imbalance deficiency to excess among older children and adolescents in Brazil and China. The variations across countries may relate to changes and differences in key environmental factors.

PMID: 12036801

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2000 Mar 1;11(3):153-158.
Effect of sterols and fatty acids on growth and triglyceride accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells.
Awad AB, Begdache LA, Fink CS. Department of Physical Therapy, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

  Epidemiologic studies suggest a role of dietary fat in the development of obesity. Populations that consume Western diets have a higher incidence of obesity than do those that consume a vegetarian type diet such as Asians. Because dietary fats are made up mostly of triglyceride with minor lipids such as sterols, the objective of this study was to examine the effect of different fatty acids, the main component of triglycerides, and sterols on cell growth and triglyceride accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells. These cells are being used as an in vitro model for studying obesity because upon differentiation in culture they accumulate triglycerides. Cells were seeded at 5,000 cells/cm(2) and supplemented with 0, 3, 10, or 30 microM of oleic acid, elaidic acid, or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Similarly, cells were supplemented with 0, 2, 8, or 16 microM of cholesterol, beta-sitosterol (SIT), or campesterol. Cell growth was measured by cell counting. Cellular triglycerides were measured by the Oil Red O method. In some experiments, fatty acids were combined with sterols and growth and triglyceride content were assessed as described. Both DHA and SIT had inhibitory effects on 3T3-L1 cell growth. However, SIT was more potent than DHA in this regard. The combination of SIT and oleic acid was the most potent in inhibiting cell growth and increasing cellular triglyceride content. It is concluded that cell growth and triglyceride accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells is influenced by fatty acid and sterols. When used alone, DHA and SIT inhibit cell growth. SIT was more effective in this process than was DHA. There was an interaction between fatty acids and sterols. The most effective combination inhibiting cell growth and triglyceride concentration was the combination of SIT and oleic acid. This combination reduced cell growth and increased triglyceride accumulation. These data suggest that diets rich in both monounsaturated fatty acids and phytosterols may play a role in controlling obesity.

PMID: 10742660

Med Hypotheses 2000 Mar;54(3):488-94
The origins of western obesity: a role for animal protein?
McCarty MF. Helicon Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA.

  A reduced propensity to oxidize fat, as indicated by a relatively high fasting respiratory quotient, is a major risk factor for weight gain. Increased insulin secretion works in various ways to impede fat oxidation and promote fat storage. The substantial 'spontaneous' weight loss often seen with very-low-fat dietary regimens may reflect not only a reduced rate of fat ingestion, but also an improved insulin sensitivity of skeletal muscle that down-regulates insulin secretion. Reduction of diurnal insulin secretion may also play a role in the fat loss often achieved with exercise training, low-glycemic-index diets, supplementation with soluble fiber or chromium, low-carbohydrate regimens, and biguanide therapy. The exceptional leanness of vegan cultures may reflect an additional factor - the absence of animal protein. Although dietary protein by itself provokes relatively little insulin release, it can markedly potentiate the insulin response to co-ingested carbohydrate; Western meals typically unite starchy foods with an animal protein-based main course. Thus, postprandial insulin secretion may be reduced by either avoiding animal protein, or segregating it in low-carbohydrate meals; the latter practice is a feature of fad [sic] diets stressing 'food combining'.  

  [NOTE: this 'food combining' is the paradigm given by Herbert Shelton and the Natural Hygiene movement for optimal digestion, and includes separating concentrated proteins and concentrated starches into different meals, and eating fruits alone as a meal.  The opposite; i.e. intentionally combining starch and protein, to create "complementary amino acids" or "complete proteins" in the same meal was an error first popularized by Francis Moore Lappe in her 1971 book: Diet For a Small Planet, and she has retracted this claim in a 1991 edition, but the damage has been done as millions of prople around the planet have been carriers of this false information for decades.  Her motivation for this false concept was, no doubt, an attempt to make vegetarian/vegan meals seem more like meat meals, and thus be more acceptable to the ignorant public.
  Also, the 1993 position statement on vegetarianism by the American Dietetic Association includes: "Conscious combining of these foods within a given meal, as the complementary protein dictum suggests, is unnecessary". ljf]

  Vegan diets tend to be relatively low in protein, legume protein may be slowly absorbed, and, as compared to animal protein, isolated soy protein provokes a greater release of glucagon, an enhancer of fat oxidation. The low insulin response to rice may mirror its low protein content. Minimizing diurnal insulin secretion in the context of a low fat intake may represent an effective strategy for achieving and maintaining leanness.

PMID: 10783494

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 May;22(5):454-60.
Low body mass index in non-meat eaters: the possible roles of animal fat, dietary fibre and alcohol.
Appleby PN, Thorogood M, Mann JI, Key TJ. Imperial Cancer Research Fund Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK.

  OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations of diet and other lifestyle factors with body mass index (BMI) using data from the Oxford Vegetarian Study.
  SUBJECTS: 1914 male and 3378 female non-smokers aged 20-89 y at recruitment to the study.
  MEASUREMENTS: All subjects completed a diet/lifestyle questionnaire at recruitment giving details of their usual diet and other characteristics including height and weight, smoking and drinking habits, amount of exercise, occupation and reproductive history. Answers to the food frequency questionnaire were used to classify subjects as either meat eaters or non-meat eaters, and to estimate intakes of animal fat and dietary fibre. Subjects were further classified according to their alcohol consumption, exercise level, social class, past smoking habits and parity. RESULTS: Mean BMI was lower in non-meat eaters than in meat eaters in all age groups for both men and women. Overall age-adjusted mean BMIs in kg/m2 were 23.18 and 22.05 for male meat eaters and non-meat eaters respectively (P < 0.0001) and 22.32 and 21.32 for female meat eaters and non-meat eaters respectively (P < 0.0001). In addition to meat consumption, dietary fibre intake, animal fat intake, social class and past smoking were all independently associated with BMI in both men and women; alcohol consumption was independently associated with BMI in men, and parity was independently associated with BMI in women. After adjusting for these factors, the differences in mean BMI between meat eaters and non-meat eaters were reduced by 36% in men and 31% in women.
  CONCLUSIONS: Non-meat eaters are thinner than meat eaters. This may be partly due to a higher intake of dietary fibre, a lower intake of animal fat, and only in men a lower intake of alcohol.

PMID: 9622343

BMJ 1996;313:816-817 (28 September)
Prevalence of obesity is low in people who do not eat meat.
Timothy Key, Gwyneth Davey

  Britain is failing to meet targets that have been set for reducing obesity. One of the aims of the Health of the Nation strategy is to reduce the percentages of men and women who are obese to 6% and 8%, respectively, by 2005, but the Health Survey for England 1994 shows that the prevalence of obesity had increased to 13.2% among men and 16.0% among women by 1994. This increase is probably partly due to a reduction in physical activity; the importance of the composition of the diet is not clear.
  We used data collected for the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition to examine the relation of obesity with meat consumption. A total of 3947 men and 17,158 women aged >/=20 were recruited during 1994 and 1995 through vegetarian and health food societies, shops, and magazines. Subjects were classified as meat eaters if they ate any meat, as fish eaters if they did not eat meat but did eat fish, as vegetarians if they did not eat meat or fish but did eat dairy products or eggs, and as vegans if they did not eat any of these four categories of food.
  The mean ages of the men and women were 42.9 and 39.7 years respectively. Among both men and women, mean body mass index was highest among the meat eaters, lowest among the vegans, and intermediate among the fish eaters and vegetarians. These differences in body mass index are equivalent to mean differences in weight between meat eaters and vegans of 5.9 kg in men and 4.7 kg in women. In the groups that did not eat meat, mean body mass index was lower among those who had adhered to their diet for five or more years than among those who had adhered to their diet for a shorter period. This association with duration of diet suggests that the differences in body mass index are largely due to the qualitative differences between the diets of the four groups. Among the meat eaters, after adjustment for age 6.4% of the men and 9.2% of the women were clinically obese (body mass index >30); these figures are well below the national averages but fail to reach the targets set in the Health of the Nation. In contrast, the prevalence of obesity was well within these targets in all the groups that did not eat meat. These data suggest that a meat free diet is associated with a low prevalence of obesity.

Ann Nutr Metab. 1994;38(6):331-5.
Selected parameters of lipid metabolism in young vegetarians.
Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Simoncic R, Bederova A, Ondreicka R, Klvanova J. Research Institute of Nutrition, Bratislava, Slovakia.

  Selected parameters of lipid metabolism (cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, atherogenic index, triacylglycerols, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin E/cholesterol, plasma fatty acid profile) and pro-oxidative/anti-oxidative parameters (conjugated dienes of fatty acids, activity of catalase and glutathione peroxidase) were estimated in blood of 59 healthy vegetarians aged 19-30 years. When compared to non-vegetarians, no incidence of obesity, low levels of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, atherogenic index or triacylglycerols, HDL cholesterol levels on the margin of 1.4 mmol/l (boundary level between standard and reduced risk) as well as a higher plasma content of polyunsaturated fatty acids and a higher 18:2/18:1 ratio were all favourable consequences of vegetarianism with respect to atherosclerosis prevention. These factors are completed by higher levels of protective compounds with antisclerotic activity (vitamin C, vitamin E/cholesterol--protecting LDL from lipoperoxidation) as well as by beneficial pro-oxidative/anti-oxidative parameters (low values of conjugated dienes, significantly higher activity of catalase, higher level of vitamin C).

PMID: 7702361

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1986 Aug;8(4):451-3.
Energy intake and body weight in ovo-lacto vegetarians.
Levin N, Rattan J, Gilat T.

  Vegetarians have a lower body weight than omnivores. In this study the relationship between the weight/height ratio and food consumption was evaluated in 92 ovo-lacto vegetarians and 113 omnivores in Israel. The average weight of the vegetarians was significantly lower than that of the omnivores (60.8 kg vs. 69.1 kg), even though the vegetarian diet supplied a significantly higher amount of calories than the nonvegetarian diet (3,030.5 cal/day vs. 2,626.8 cal/day). Consumption of fat was similar in both groups. Carbohydrate consumption was higher in the vegetarians while protein consumption was lower. The prevalence of obesity was significantly lower in the vegetarian group (5.4%) as compared to 19.5% among the omnivores. The lower body weight of vegetarians despite a higher caloric intake is of considerable interest.

PMID: 3760524

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1982 Apr;17(3):417-24.
Vegetarian fasting of obese patients: a clinical and biochemical evaluation.
Sorbris R, Aly KO, Nilsson-Ehle P, Petersson BG, Ockerman PA.

  The effects of vegetarian fasting were evaluated in 14 grossly obese patients who participated in a program comprising 5 weeks' fasting in a lactovegetarian health center. Before and after the fasting period the patients were hospitalized and put on a standardized weight-maintaining diet; at the health center they consumed vegetable juices [Note: thus NOT a fast - ljf] containing less than 1 MJ and 3 g of protein per day. The weight reduction (mean +/- S.D.) was 13.4 +/- 5.0 kg (from 132.0 +/- 27.2 to 118.6 +/- 16.1 kg). Except for the first few days the patients had no severe hunger sensations. No severe adverse clinical effects were noted. The laboratory status--comprising serum or plasma levels of minerals, protein, and lipids; hematological data; and variables reflecting liver and thyroid function--revealed abnormal group mean values only for ferritin and the acute-phase reactants haptoglobin, C-reactive protein, and anti-chymotrypsin in the obese. The levels of potassium, retinol-binding protein, and haptoglobin decreased, and aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase activities and free fatty acid and glycerol concentrations increased as a result of the fasting. The most striking effect of the weight reduction was an increase in the HDL cholesterol levels. Fasting according to the described regimen thus seems to provide a safe method for treatment of obese patients.

PMID: 7134869

J Am Diet Assoc. 1980 Oct;77(4):434-9.
Size, obesity, and leanness in vegetarian preschool children.
Dwyer JT, Andrew EM, Valadian I, Reed RB.

  Alterations in a series of anthropometric measurements taken on 142 vegetarian preschool children adhering to macrobiotic or other vegetarian regimens were studied. Length, subscapular skinfolds, and arm-muscle cirumferences differed from expectations. Dietary group and age, but not sex, were associated with these variations. Measurements were more likely to be depressed among children on a macrobiotic diet. Differences were significant among children twelve to thirty-five months of age for length and subscapular skinfolds and among children thirty-six months or older for arm circumference and subscapular skinfolds. Fewer vegetarian children were obese, and more were lean, than would be expected from norms.

PMID: 7419836



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