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Eat less meat, lose weight

22nd July 2010

Researchers say that eating less meat could be the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

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A team from Imperial College London was among researchers who conducted a European study of almost 400,000 adults.

They found that eating meat was linked with weight gain, even in people taking in the same number of calories, with the strongest association found with processed meat, such as sausages and ham.

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research team backed public health messages advocating a reduction in the amount of meat people ate.

Participants in the study came from 10 European countries, including the UK, and were weighed and measured at the start and then asked to report their weight five years later.

Overall, the researchers found that meat consumption was associated with weight gain in both men and women.

Study leader Dr Anne-Claire Vergnaud said: “I would recommend to people to control their consumption of meat to maintain a healthy weight and good health in general during life.”

However, she said that decreasing the amount of meat alone would not be an adequate weight loss strategy.

Dietician Sian Porter, who is a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said the findings were interesting.

She said: “We eat more meat than we need. What I say to my patients is to think about variety - so have an egg for breakfast instead of bacon, cheese for lunch instead of ham and fish for the evening meal.”

She also warned against large portions of meat.

 

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