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.
What did they study?
Researchers divided up overweight and obese adults into 5 different diet groups:
- Vegetarian (include egg and dairy)
- Pesco-vegetarian (include fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy)
- Semi-vegetaria (red meat once a week, poultry less than 5 times per week)
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