Low-carb vegan diet provides similar health benefits to vegetarian diet

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Eating the right food can help keep us healthy. But did you know that what we eat can also affect the environment?

According to new research from St. Michael’s Hospital, switching to a low-carb vegan diet can be good not only for us, but also for our planet.

A Win for Health and Environment

The scientists published their findings in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

They showed that a low-carb vegan diet – one that avoids not just meat but also dairy and eggs – produces fewer carbon emissions than a diet that includes animal products.

Carbon emissions are harmful gases that contribute to climate change, the warming of our planet.

What’s even more interesting is that the vegan diet was also linked to lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in our blood. Having too much of a certain type, known as LDL or “bad” cholesterol, can lead to heart disease.

Dr. David Jenkins, who led the study, says that their research shows that healthier diets can also be better for the environment. “As you reduce the impact of your diet on the environment, you also benefit by lowering your cholesterol,” he says.

Testing Two Diets

The researchers had people follow one of two diets. The first group ate a low-carb vegan diet that included special types of bread and meat substitutes made from plants. This was designed to be like popular low-carb diets, but without any animal products.

The second group followed a vegetarian version of the DASH diet, a plan often recommended by doctors to help lower blood pressure. This diet included egg whites and low-fat dairy, but no meat.

After three months, the researchers found that both diets had similar effects on the participants’ health. They both helped people lose weight – around 6 kilos on average – and lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The diets even helped to control blood sugar, as shown by a reduction in a marker called hemoglobin A1c. Dr. Jenkins says that this effect was similar to what some medications can do, suggesting that the right diet can have powerful effects on health.

Despite the short duration of the study, the researchers believe that the results could last. Other studies have shown that people can keep the weight off after following such diets for three months.

Take-Home Message

In conclusion, the study found that a low-carb vegan diet can be as good for health as a vegetarian diet, while also being better for the environment.

The participants were already healthy to begin with, so seeing further improvements in their health was quite impressive.

Dr. Jenkins says, “This is just a small example that you can do it, it can be healthy. It is palatable. And you can reduce at least one risk factor, too.”

So, if you’re considering a change in diet, remember that a shift towards more plant-based eating can be a win for both your health and the planet.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about berry that can prevent cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and natural blood pressure controllers: 12 foods that lower blood pressure.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about diet to fight diabetic eye damage, and results showing these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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