There Could Be Major Health Benefits to the Flexitarian Diet

It’s common knowledge that food choices have a big influence on health. However, it can be difficult to choose a diet to stick to when there are so many options available.

For instance, there is the wildly popular Mediterranean diet, the fully plant-based vegan diet, and the semi-vegetarian flexitarian diet, which allows small amounts of meat and other animal-based foods.

In addition, dietary regimens tailored to certain health objectives are available, such as heart-healthy diets and brain-healthy eating plans.

In terms of health objectives, research indicates that a vegan diet may be more beneficial to heart health than an omnivorous diet based on plants and animals. On the other hand, some scientists contend that meat is not harmful and that eating this premium animal protein is necessary for good general health.

German researchers investigated the effects of flexitarian, vegan, and omnivore diets on cardiovascular disease risk factors in order to assist identify the best diet type for heart health.

While both the vegan and flexitarian diets lowered heart disease risk factors like blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and metabolic difficulties, the flexitarian diet may more successfully lower two of these indicators, according to the study, which was published on February 12 in BMC Nutrition.

Based on their eating habits, the researchers split the 94 healthy individuals into groups to carry out the study. Vegans did not eat any meat, long-term flexitarians ingested 50 grams or more, and omnivores consumed 170 grams or more of meat daily.

Using questionnaires, the scientists gathered data on the subjects’ dietary habits, food quality, and degree of physical activity. In order to measure arterial stiffness, cholesterol, and metabolic indicators, they also gave the subjects blood tests and physical examinations.

The team discovered that vegans and flexitarians had better diets overall after going through the data. In comparison to omnivores, they also possessed higher levels of insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.

In contrast to those in the other two groups, those who ate a flexitarian diet had better MetS scores and pulse wave velocity (PWV) values.

PWV readings quantify arterial stiffness, while the MetS-score, or metabolic syndrome severity score, reveals if a person has metabolic risk factors for heart disease.

However, the study had certain shortcomings. For instance, self-reported data on food trends was used, and there were only a small number of participants. Overall, the results demonstrated that the flexitarian diet had a positive effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors; nevertheless, the study’s authors note that further research is necessary.

The Flexitarian Diet: What is it?

The flexitarian diet generally lies in the middle of the omnivore and vegan dietary patterns. “Flexible vegetarians” or “flexitarians” consume a variety of fruits and vegetables in addition to small amounts of meat, dairy, eggs, or fish two or three days a week.

Individuals adhering to this partially plant-based diet plan may also incorporate portions of plant-based proteins, such as legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains high in fiber, into their daily diet.

If you wish to eat a plant-based diet but still enjoy meat and other animal-based items, you may want to consider the flexitarian diet. Before making any dietary changes, it is essential to speak with a healthcare provider as certain individuals may not be a good fit for this eating pattern.