A vegan diet high in legumes may help you lose weight, a new study finds – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Increasing your intake of legumes and decreasing your intake of meat, fish and poultry may help you lose weight, according to a new study published in the medical publication Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The 16-week study, conducted by the nonprofit research and advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), included 244 overweight adults who were randomly assigned to either no dietary modification or an unrestricted low-fat vegan diet consisting of vegetables, Cereals, legumes and fruit. The researchers tracked the participants’ diet quality, body weight, fat mass, and insulin sensitivity. The final data analysis included 219 participants who had completed the entire study and submitted their final dietary records.

The study found that participants on a vegan diet lost an average of 13 pounds and 9.1 pounds of fat mass. In comparison, body weight and fat mass did not decrease in the group that did not change their diet. In the vegan group, increases in consumption of fruit, legumes, meat alternatives, and whole grains, and decreases in consumption of animal products, added oils, and animal fats were associated with weight loss. In particular, increased consumption of legumes was associated with decreases in weight, fat mass, and visceral adipose tissue (the hormonally active component of total body fat). Increased consumption of fruit and meat alternatives was associated with decreases in body weight, and increased consumption of whole grains was associated with decreases in body weight and fat mass.

Regarding animal products, the study found that decreased egg intake was correlated with decreased weight and decreased intake of high-fat dairy products was associated with decreased weight and fat mass. A reduction in the combined intake of meat, fish, and poultry was associated with weight loss and a decrease in fat mass. And a reduction in intake of added animal fats, as well as added oils, was associated with a decrease in weight and fat mass.

A vegan diet reduces the risk of chronic diseases

The researchers also noted that the vegan group experienced improvements in insulin sensitivity. In addition, the diet quality of the vegan group, as measured by the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI), increased by an average of six points, in contrast to no significant change in the group that did not change their diet.

The AHEI was developed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health to identify dietary patterns associated with a lower risk of chronic disease. The index is composed of foods that should be eaten more often, such as fruits and vegetables, and those that should be eaten less, such as red and processed meat. The higher the AHEI score, the lower the risk of chronic disease.

“Our research shows that the best way to improve the quality of your health is to improve the quality of the food you eat,” said Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research at PCRM and co- author of the study, in a statement. “That means avoiding animal products and eating a vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.”


Does a vegan diet help you lose weight?

Similar studies from the past have linked a vegan diet to weight loss. A study presented earlier this year by the Steno Diabetes Center at the European Congress on Obesity found that switching to a vegan diet for three months can lead to “meaningful” weight loss and lower blood sugar. For this study, researchers in Denmark conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 randomized trials in 796 people who were overweight and/or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, comparing the effects of vegan diets (followed for at least 12 weeks ) to other diets on cardiometabolic risk factors such as body weight, body mass index, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

In another 16-week crossover study published last year, researchers at PCRM compared weight loss outcomes between groups following a low-fat vegan diet and those following a Mediterranean diet. Researchers found that participants on the vegan diet lost an average of about 13 pounds, compared to no mean change on the Mediterranean diet.

“Previous studies have shown that both Mediterranean and vegan diets improve body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors, but so far their relative effectiveness has not been compared in a randomized trial,” Kahleova said. “We decided to test the diets head-to-head and found that a vegan diet was more effective at both improving health markers and promoting weight loss.”

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