In a recent study, researchers found that people who eat a diet rich in the plant could lose body weight faster than those who eat a diet with meat and dairy.
This suggests that a plant-based diet could help lose weight more effectively.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of South Carolina.
Plant-based diets are diets consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products.
Many people used the term to describe vegan diets that contain no food from animal sources or vegetarian diets that include eggs and dairy products but no meat.
Previous research has shown that plant-based diets could bring many benefits.
For example, one study showed that eating a mostly plant-based diet was linked to less risk of developing heart failure among people without previously diagnosed heart disease or heart failure.
Another study showed that a plant-based diet could boost the health of people with type 2 diabetes. The insulin function in these people was improved after eating a vegan diet.
In the current study, the team focused on plant-based diets and weight loss in overweight people.
They compared weight loss in three groups: people who were on vegan diets, people who were on a mostly plant-based diet, and people who ate an omnivorous diet with a mix of animal products and plant-based foods.
These people followed their diets for six months. The participants attended weekly group meetings, with the exception of the omnivorous group.
The researchers found after 6 months, people on the vegan diet lost more weight than the other two groups by an average of 4.3%, or 16.5 pounds.
They suggest that the vegan diet was high in carbohydrates that rate low on the glycemic index.
Moreover, weight loss was not the only benefit for people who enjoy a vegan diet.
People in the vegan diet group also showed the greatest amount of decrease in their fat and saturated fat levels at the two and six-month checks.
They had lower BMIs and improved macronutrient levels more than people having other diets.
The team suggests that avoiding all animal products may be key to these positive results.
It is easy to gain more body weight during holidays and gatherings. But this finding shows that for people eating a plant-based diet, there is little need for concern.
The lead author is Turner-McGrievy GM from Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina.
The finding is published in The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences.
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