Pick a Plant-Based Diet for Weight Loss

Vegetarians may just have it all. Some previous research has shown that vegetarians have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and death from any cause. Now, a new meta-analysis has found an association between a vegetarian or vegan diet and increased weight loss compared with non-vegetarian diets (such as high-protein, low-fat, and diabetes-management diets). The meta-analysis, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, looked at data from 12 other diet studies that included weight loss results from a total of 1,151 men and women aged 18 to 82, some of whom were overweight or obese. The diet studies ranged in length from 2 to 18 months and included follow-up periods between 8 weeks and 2 years. After analyzing the combined data, here is what researchers found:

  • Participants following a vegetarian diet lost 2.02 kg (4.5 lb) more than those following other diets.
  • Participants following a vegan diet lost 2.52 kg (5.6 lb) more than those following other diets.

While this may be exciting news if you’re looking for a new weight loss diet, it’s important to note that not all vegetarian foods are created equal (a bag of potato chips may be vegetarian, but it’s unlikely to promote weight loss). Researchers attribute the extra weight loss in this meta-analysis to the whole grains, fruits, and vegetables commonly found in vegetarian diets. Healthful, plant-based foods tend to be low in calories and full of fiber, which research suggests may aid in weight loss.

Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine

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