Vegetarians are slimmer than meat-eaters

A new study from Loma Linda University shows that there is an association between diet type and weight, with vegetarians having a lower body mass index than non-vegetarians. This study has shown that vegetarians may not only be more likely to outlive their meat-eating counterparts, but they could also have a leg up in the weight department, too.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that despite both groups in the study had similar caloric intakes, it was very clear that the vegetarians had a lower BMI than the non-vegetarians.

The study looked at five groups: meat-eaters, semi-vegetarians (occasional meat-eaters), pesco-vegetarians (vegetarians who eat fish), lacto-ovo vegetarians (vegetarians who consume dairy and eggs) and vegans (who don’t consume any animal products). The researchers found that the average BMI was lowest among vegans, and highest by a large margin, among meat-eaters. When looking specifically at obesity, researchers found that vegans had the lowest percentage of people who were obese (only about 9,4%), while meat-eaters had the highest percentage of people who were obese (nearly 33,3%).


  1. 28 January 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Mmm… slimmer… but stronger?
    After some research, I discovered that proteins from plant-based sources are incomplete and do not often build muscle tissue correctly. While it is considered “healthier”, vegetable-based diets are not necessarily great for those running on performance.
    Also, obesity is not caused by the consumption of meat, but rather the consumption of carbohydrates (simple or complex). What is even worse, is the consumption of mono-unsaturated fats along with carbs, which leads to the absorption of both when the body stores excess carbs, which is extremely hard to get rid of.

    I think something to consider is not the consumption of food groups (like vegetables, meats, etc), but rather the consumption of food types (like carbohydrates, fats and proteins).

    • mm
      2 February 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Dear Amoon, thanks for your comment. This is a complex subject. However, the experts and research agrees, obesity is not caused by one particular food group or habit, but by a variety of reasons. For one, energy consumption in excess of energy expenditure leads to obesity on an individual basis. As societies become increasingly reliant on energy-dense, big-portions, and fast-food meals, obesity in society increases. A sedentary lifestyle is a big factor too. People are not active enough and worldwide there’s been a large shift towards less physically demanding work. At least 30% of the world’s population gets insufficient exercise. Obesity can also be the result of an interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Polymorphisms in various genes controlling appetite and metabolism predispose to obesity when sufficient food energy present and certain physical and mental illnesses can risk of obesity. It’s easy to blame weight gain or being overweight on one food group, but this is really too simplistic. Hope our comments help.