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‘Vegan diets with carbohydrates help shed more weight than other diets’, study

Posted:  Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas and New Year festivities may add up a few kilos to your waist. However, people who say no to animal products need not worry. A team of researchers from the University of South Carolina found that individuals who adopted a vegan diet for 6 months lost weight by an average of 4.3% in comparison to those on a mostly plant-based diet and those consuming an omnivorous diet.

The results of the study were published in The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences. As part of the study, the researchers randomly assigned participants to one of five diets:

•    Vegan which excludes all animal products

•    Semi-vegetarian with occasional meat intake

•    Pesco-vegetarian which excludes all meat except seafood

•    Vegetarian which excludes all meat and seafood but includes animal products

•    Omnivorous which excludes no foods

The participants followed the assigned diet for 6 months and except the omnivorous group, all the other groups participated in weekly group meetings.

The researchers found that those who followed the vegan diet reported the greatest weight loss at the 2 and 6 month marks. Apart from weight loss, the vegan group also reported the greatest amount of decrease in their fat and saturated fat levels, lower BMIs, and improved macronutrient status compared to other diets at the two and six month checks.

Before the study, the researchers thought that the pesco-vegetarian group might fare better on weight loss. Instead, their weight loss was comparable to those on the semi-vegetarian and omnivorous diets. The researchers noted that the diet consumed by vegan participants was high in carbohydrates that ranked low on glycemic index facilitating weight loss.

The lead author Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy believes that people can lose weight without omitting carbohydrate sources from the diet. Dispelling the carb-phobic approach to weight loss, she said, “This study might help alleviate the fears of people who enjoy pasta, rice, and other grains but want to lose weight."

World Vegan Day is observed on 1st November and this news is surely a reason to celebrate for ardent followers of the diet.

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