Low-fat vegan diet aids weight loss

September 28, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Low-fat vegan diet aids weight loss

A vegan diet that is low in fat has been shown to help in weight loss, according to a recent study from researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Researchers assigned either a low-fat vegan diet or standard low-cholesterol diet to the 64 female, post-menopausal study participants for 14 weeks. The women who followed the vegan diet lost an average of 13 pounds, compared to a loss of 8 pounds for the standard diet. For those following the vegan diet, the weight loss came despite the fact that the women were given no limits on their portion sizes or daily calories - and despite the fact that the vegan diet boosted their carbohydrate intake.

Researchers speculate that the weight loss from the vegan diet may be a result of specific metabolic effects of the diet. It seems the diet improved the women's sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that ushers sugar from the blood and into cells to be used for energy. This was also accompanied by an increase in what's known as the thermic effect of food - the amount of calories the body expends to process and store food. The vegan diet improved women's insulin sensitivity to a greater a degree than the comparison diet did - though the difference was not statistically significant.

Vegan diets are rich in fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans and contain no animal products, including dairy and eggs. Although high-protein weight-loss regimens have painted carbohydrates as the enemy, a number of studies have found that vegetarians and vegans, who tend to eat a lot of fiber- and vitamin-rich carbohydrates, are much less likely to be overweight than meat-eaters.

While this study shows one potential benefit of following an animal-free diet, it is recommended that individuals who omit all animal products from their diet be tested for vitamin B12 on a regular basis. Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal products such as meat, dairy products and eggs.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.