Ruben Studdard's Example Underscores Obesity-Fighting Power of Vegetarian Diets
Doctors Offer Free Vegetarian Starter Kit to Consumers Who Want to Emulate American Idol Winner and Shed Unwanted Pounds
WASHINGTON—Ruben Studdard made a big impression in 2003 when he beat an army of rivals to win top prize on American Idol. But now the velvet-voiced R&B singer is making headlines for what he has lost: almost 100 pounds. Studdard has gone vegetarian.
That's not a fluke, according to nutrition researcher Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. PCRM's research has consistently supported the weight-trimming power of low-fat vegetarian diets.
In a study published in the August issue of Diabetes Care, Dr. Barnard and his fellow researchers found that a low-fat vegetarian diet helped people with diabetes shed unwanted pounds, as well as improve their blood sugar control and cholesterol levels. In another study, published last year in The American Journal of Medicine, Dr. Barnard and his co-authors found that a low-fat, plant-based diet is more effective for weight loss and improving insulin sensitivity than an omnivorous diet.
“People who follow Ruben Studdard's example will find that they can shed unwanted pounds while enjoying fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthful foods,” says Dr. Barnard. “A vegetarian diet won't make you an R&B superstar, but it is an extremely effective way to lose weight."
Other scientific studies support the health value of plant-based diets. In a recent study of more than 55,000 Swedish women, Tufts University researcher P. Kirstin Newby and her colleagues found that 40 percent of meat-eaters were overweight or obese while only 25 to 29 percent of vegetarians and vegans were. Worldwide, vegetarian populations experience lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
PCRM offers a free Vegetarian Starter Kit, which includes recipes, nutrition information, and a three-step plan for moving to a healthier diet. The guide is available online at www.GoVegetarian.org.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.