Vegan diet superior for weight loss?


The scientific evidence is mounting that plant-based diets may be beneficial for weight loss. In a 2015 paper, Dr Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy and colleagues reported on a research study that helped contribute to this growing body of evidence.


Study: Turner-McGrievy, G & Davidson C et al. Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial of five different diets. Nutrition 31 (2015) 350 - 358


What did they study? 

Researchers divided up overweight and obese adults into 5 different diet groups: 

  1. Vegan
  2. Vegetarian (include egg and dairy)
  3. Pesco-vegetarian (include fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy)
  4. Semi-vegetaria (red meat once a week, poultry less than 5 times per week)
  5. Omnivorous

The goal was to see how these particular diets would affect weight loss after 2 months of intervention and 4 months of follow-up. 

All participants were encouraged to favour low-glycemic index, low fat foods. Participants also engaged in weekly support groups for the first 2 months. The following four months, they were encouraged to continue following the diet and participate in their monthly support group. 


What were the results?

  • vegans experienced the most weight loss  (7.5%)  followed by vegetarians (6.3%) 
  • physical activity levels were not significantly different between groups
  • the largest decrease in fat and saturated fat intake was found in the vegan group compared to omnivores, pesco- vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. 
  • the more plant-based the diet,  the more carbohydrates were consumed  
  • dietary adherence did not differ between the different diets



This study shows that a more plant-based diet may be a superior way to lose weight in a 2 to 6 month time span. 


Read the full study here


George Cho