The Ashfield-Portuguese Church in Sydney has been ‘battling’ it out for the past eight weeks. Three groups competed in the inaugural;  Battle of the Diets: Non-vegetarians, Ova-lacto Vegetarians and Vegans.

Coordinator, Ana Gomes, provided the groups with detailed equal-kilojoule diets which were religiously followed for the full duration of the program.  First prize offered was a three-night-stay on the Gold Coast and return flights for four. Anna also arranged a rigorous round of physical activities to motivate and educate the fifteen competitors during the eight week program. The training, weekly weigh-ins, waist and hip measurements added to the incentive for each participant.

The results were surprising; with vegans reducing more body weight than the other two groups. The mean weight-loss for the non-vegetarian group was 3.65 kilograms (3.5% body weight), the same mean weight loss for the ova-lacto vegetarians (4.9%) compared with 4.15 kgs (5.7%) for the vegans. First prize went to vegan, Carina Heidmann, who switched from a non-vegetarian diet for the competition and lost 8.9% of her total body weight. Second prize winner, Ruth Alves, reducing her weight by 7.1% was so impressed by her weight loss that she has since switched from a non-vegetarian to a vegan diet.

Malcolm Rea,  Greater Sydney Conference Health Director, commended the initiative saying, “Congratulations to Ana and Battle of the Diets participants. This has been a highly innovative and successful program and I am sure the personal benefits make it worthwhile!”