Vegetarians on diets lost weight twice as fast as meat-eaters and giving up meat products at the start of the diet was the fastest way to shed pounds, according to a study.
The study found that in the first month of a diet meat-eaters, who tend to take in 35 per cent of their calories from meat products, lost on average 2lb, while vegetarians’ weight loss was 4lb, which rose to 5lb if the slimmer had given up meat at the start of the diet.
The reason for vegetarians’ greater success was that the switch away from meat also led people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The study found that vegetarians were twice as likely to be gym members as meat eaters — 28 per cent were members, compared with 14 per cent of meat-eaters — exercised twice a week on average, compared with once a week for meat-eaters, and were twice as likely to pick low-fat options at the supermarket, with 57 per cent doing so.
Only 12 per cent of vegetarians regularly used fast-food restaurants, compared with 39 per cent of meat-eaters.
In the study of 1,000 people by Forza Supplements, the weight loss company, 87 per cent of people said that they had found it easier to lose weight after giving up meat.
Lee Smith, managing director of Forza, said that meat-eaters tended to have a higher calorie intake, especially if they frequented fast-food outlets.
The UK has the highest proportion of vegetarians in the developed world, with up to 12 per cent of adults — 7,752,000 people — not eating meat.