In a study from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, scientists found a vegan diet improves diet quality, leading to decreased weight and improved insulin sensitivity.
The team found the decreased weight was most linked to an increased intake of legumes and decreased intake of meat, fish, and poultry.
In the 16-week study, the team tested 244 overweight adults who were assigned to either make no diet changes or to follow a low-fat vegan diet, without calorie restrictions, consisting of vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits.
Researchers tracked their diet quality, body weight, fat mass, and insulin sensitivity.
The team found participants on the vegan diet lost an average of 13 pounds and 9.1 pounds of fat mass. Body weight and fat mass did not decrease in the group that made no diet changes.
In the vegan group, increases in fruit, legume, meat alternative, and whole grain intake and decreases in animal products, added oils, and animal fats were associated with weight loss:
Fruit: Increased intake of whole fruit was associated with a decrease in body weight.
Legumes and Meat Alternatives: Increased legume consumption was associated with decreased weight, fat mass, and visceral adipose tissue. Consuming more meat alternatives, including tofu, tempeh, and veggie burgers, was associated with a decrease in body weight.
Grains: Increased consumption of whole grains was associated with decreased body weight and fat mass.
Eggs and Dairy Products: Decreased egg intake was correlated with decreased weight. Decreased high-fat dairy intake was associated with decreased weight and fat mass.
Meat, Fish, and Poultry: Reductions in the combined intake of total meat, fish, and poultry were associated with weight loss and a decrease in fat mass.
Added Fats: Decreases in intake of added animal fats were associated with decreases in weight and fat mass. Decreased intake of added oils is also correlated with decreases in weight and fat mass.
The vegan group also showed improvements in insulin sensitivity.
The team found the vegan group’s diet quality also increased in contrast to no significant change in the group that did not make a diet change.
The team says the research shows that the best way to improve the quality of health is to improve the quality of the foods you eat.
That means avoiding animal products and eating a vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.
If you care about weight loss, please read studies that avocado could help you lose weight and belly fat, and a keto diet for weight loss can cause flu-like symptoms.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and early time-restricted eating could help lose weight.
The study was conducted by Hana Kahleova et al and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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