What We Know About Diet and Exercise
We’ve all heard it before: a balanced diet and regular exercise are good for us. But did you know that what we eat might also influence how active we are?
This is what a group of scientists wanted to explore. They focused on vegans, people who don’t eat any animal products.
What They Did: A Survey on Vegan Diets and Activity Levels
The scientists created an online survey that was completed by 516 vegans from June to August 2022. The survey asked questions about what kinds of foods the participants ate and how active they were.
The scientists used a technique called principal component analysis to identify different types of vegan diets from the survey data.
They also compared activity levels between these different diet groups using statistical tests and something called logistic regression analysis.
Who Participated: Young and Long-Term Vegans
The average age of the people who completed the survey was 28 years. On average, they had been following a vegan diet for about 2.6 years.
The Findings: Vegan Diets and Activity Levels
The scientists discovered two main types of vegan diets among the participants. They called them the “convenience” group and the “health-conscious” group.
The “convenience” group included people who often ate vegan versions of fast food, frozen meals, and other quick and easy options.
The “health-conscious” group included people who mostly ate fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrient-dense foods.
The scientists found that the people in the “convenience” group were more likely to sit a lot and not meet recommendations for aerobic exercise (like running or swimming) or strength training (like lifting weights).
This was compared to the people in the “health-conscious” group.
What This Means and What’s Next
This study shows that not all vegan diets are the same and that the type of vegan diet a person follows might be linked to how active they are.
However, the scientists also know they need to do more research. They need to take a closer look at the diets of the people in their study, particularly the amount of ultra-processed foods they eat.
They also want to examine blood samples from the participants to learn more about their health. Lastly, they want to use more precise methods to measure how active the participants are.
This research is a fascinating step towards understanding the complex relationships between our diet, our activity levels, and our overall health.
The study was published in Nutrients.
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