Healthy living * Weight loss

Eat less meat to stay in shape

Eat less meat to stay in shape Meat eaters put on more weight

Eating less meat may help you to stay in shape, according to new research.

A large European study found that keen meat eaters put on more weight over five years than those who consumed the same amount of calories, but ate less meat.

Contrary to the advice from Dr Atkins, the results suggest we should all be eating less meat to keep the pounds off in the long run.

In the study, researchers from Imperial College London followed the diets of nearly 400,000 men and women from 10 European countries over five years. All were weighed at the start and end of the study and filled out questionnaires about diet and lifestyle.

After analysing the data, they found that for every 250g of meat a person ate daily, they had gained an extra 4.4lb in weight at the end of the five years.

Poultry was associated with the most weight gain, followed by processed meat and red meat.

The study also found that people from Denmark, Germany, Spain and Sweden ate the most meat, with men eating an average of 300 calories of meat a day and women 140 calories.

But people from Greece ate the least meat. Greek men consumed about 200 calories a day and women 140 calories.

Gaining an average of 4lbs in five years may seem like a small weight gain for an individual, but the researchers said it "could have an important effect from a population perspective."

They added: "..our results do not support that a high-protein diet prevents obesity or promotes long-term weight loss, contrary to what has been advocated."

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This article was published on Fri 23 July 2010

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