In a study from the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, scientists found a 12-week vegan diet may lead to meaningful weight loss and improve blood sugar control in overweight adults and those with type 2 diabetes.
However, vegan diets that are rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds, with no all animal-derived foods, did not affect blood pressure or triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) compared to other diets.
In this study, the team did a meta-analysis of 11 randomized trials involving almost 800 participants (aged 18 or older) with overweight (BMI of 25 kg/m2 or over) or type 2 diabetes.
The trials lasted for at least 12 weeks (average duration 19 weeks) and considered weight loss of at least 5 kg (11lbs) clinically meaningful.
The team found that compared with control diets, vegan diets significantly reduced body weight and BMI.
But the effects on blood sugar level, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were rather small.
Further analyses found even greater reductions in body weight and BMI when vegan diets were compared with continuing a normal diet without dietary changes than compared with other intervention diets.
The team says that adhering to a vegan diet for at least 12 weeks may result in clinically meaningful weight loss and improved blood sugar levels, and therefore can be used in the management of overweight and type 2 diabetes.
Vegan diets likely lead to weight loss because they are associated with a reduced calorie intake due to a lower content of fat and higher content of dietary fiber.
However, more evidence is needed regarding other cardiometabolic outcomes.
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The study was conducted by Anne-Ditte Termannsen et al and presented at European Congress on Obesity.
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