Volume 93, Issue 6

Friday, June 18, 1999


Stadium plans jump out of starting block

Bank CEO sparks protest at Toronto U

If scholarship's not Scottish, it's crap!

Cracks in program may plague Registrar's office

Police make arrest in Drink investigation

Study says veggies can't beat meat



Caught on campus

Caught on campus again

Study says veggies can't beat meat

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

A recent study suggests vegetarians may not be any healthier than their carnivorous counterparts.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, analyzed the health of 193 women, half vegetarian and half non-vegetarian, over the course of one year. Researchers were looking for relatively health conscious participants for the analysis, said Susan Barr, Nutrition professor at UBC and director of the study.

"Only 5 per cent of the subjects smoked, most were light drinkers and most exercised moderately," she said, adding these criteria allowed researchers to study whether the subjects' eating habits were correlated to their health.

Participants were measured for height and weight and these measurements were used to determine the Body Mass Index, a commonly used way to analyze a person's health. A person's BMI, Barr explained, can be determined by dividing their height in centimetres by their weight in kilograms.

"All participants fell between 20 and 25 when their BMI was determined," Barr said. She added these figures were relatively normal. "There was very little difference between the results for the vegetarian and non-vegetarian groups."

"This study shows that excluding meat from your diet is not an automatic ticket to good health," Barr said. "For those who are vegetarians for philosophical reasons, I would recommend that they take vitamin supplements. For those that are vegetarians for health reasons, I would say they should maybe think again."

Elizabeth Bright-See, a home economics professor at Brescia College, said this study will help clear up the common misperception of vegetarian diets. "This lays to rest the myth that vegetarian diets are automatically healthier.

"Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets cover a wide range of eating habits. There are disastrous vegetarian diets just as there are disastrous non-vegetarian diets."

Bright-See added vegetarian diets can be high in fat just as non-vegetarian diets can, if a person does not eat properly.

However, Lisa Rogers, media liaison for the Toronto Vegetarian Association, said she was somewhat surprised by the study and offered a different perspective on the results.

"I'm surprised because it's unlike what we've seen before – but the study only focused on women, and women on average eat healthier than men. Also, the study dealt only with vegetarian diets and not with vegan diets."

Rogers added a vegan diet is promoted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association and excludes all food products from animals such as milk, eggs and seafood. She explained vegetarian diets may include some fats but fats in a vegan diet are further eliminated.

Ajit Krishnan, a second-year computer science student who is also a vegetarian, said his eating habits are based on his religious and personal philosophies. He added although he was surprised by the results of the study, they would not affect his lifestyle.

Study says veggies can't beat meat

Meat eater's health was no worse than vegetarian's

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Copyright The Gazette 1999