You probably don't need anyone to tell you that Americans are losing the battle of the bulge. Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and obesity rates among children have tripled in the past 30 years. The problem is so alarming that earlier this year, a nonprofit group called Mission: Readiness, fronted by senior retired military leaders, issued a report titled "Too Fat to Fight," which concluded that 27 percent of all young adults "are too fat to serve in the military."
So it's heartening to see that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new dietary guidelines take aim at the obesity epidemic in part by recommending a shift toward a plant-based diet. Going vegetarian (or better yet, vegan) is a proven way to lose weight--and keep it off--as well as to improve your overall health.
In its new report, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee calls obesity "the single greatest threat to public health in this century." Along with commonsense measures such as increasing physical activity and reducing consumption of foods containing added sugars, the report recommends eating a "more plant-based" diet. Americans are advised to consume more fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.
I would suggest leaving out the meat and eggs altogether and sticking with those veggies. In a study of nearly 22,000 people, Oxford University researchers found that men who switch to a vegetarian diet are less likely to experience the yearly weight gain--and clogged arteries--that can plague middle-aged meat-eaters.
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