WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dependent upon the type of diet you follow, be it vegan, semi-vegetarian, or omnivore, your weight loss efforts can be affected.
In the first study to ever critically examine five different diets, researchers explored the relationship between specific diets and their effect on weight loss.1 They randomly assigned 50 overweight adult participants to diets emphasizing low-fat and a low-glycemic index. These were the types of diets explored:
- vegan (excludes all animal products)
- vegetarian (includes eggs/dairy but no meat/seafood)
- pesco-vegetarian (includes eggs/dairy no meat except seafood)
- semi-vegetarian (occasional meat intake)
- omnivore (no foods excluded)
Participants were given dietary guidance for six months. For the first two months, all diet groups except for the omnivores, attended a one-hour long weekly meeting. At the two and six month mark, researchers assessed the weight and dietary intake of all participants to determine the effectiveness of each diet on weight loss. They were instructed on which foods to avoid and given tips for low-fat cooking. They also learned about the glycemic index. No self-monitoring in the form of counting calories was required during this study and participants were free to eat whenever they wanted, and at the frequency of their choosing as long as what they ate adhered to their diet assignment. At the end of the six months, the results were markedly different between the vegan and omnivorous dieters.
At six months, weight loss in the vegan group was significantly greater than the omnivorous group, the semi-vegetarian and pesco-vegetarian groups. The average weight loss for the vegan group at six months was 7.5%! In addition, the vegan group decreased their fat, saturated fat and cholesterol intake more than any other diet group, while also increasing their fiber intake.
WHY THIS MATTERS
It’s no secret that many of us desire to lose a few pounds. Many of us realize that we may even need to lose a significant amount of weight, and that our weight may be leading to negative health outcomes. If you’ve experienced this feeling or are currently trying to lose weight, you are not alone. In the United States today, more than two-thirds (68.8%) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese.2
This study demonstrated that it is possible for regular people who desire to lose weight to adopt dietary habits (plant-based eating) that will result in weight loss. The weight loss achieved by participants occurred without the need for dietary self-monitoring. This is encouraging news for anyone looking to shed pounds because conventional dieting has always involved counting calories and daily record keeping for best results, which can be burdensome and tedious. Instead, simply focusing more on eating a vegetarian diet, with no specific guidelines on calories, can help with weight loss.
TAKE AWAY MESSAGE
Ultimately, fruits and vegetables should play a major role in whatever diet you follow. Always aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies during every meal or snack in order to hit your nutritional requirements for vitamins and minerals. Check out these fruits & veggie guides …
Video Center: Selection. Storage. Preparation.
How Many Cups Do You Need?
Key Nutrients in Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit & Veggie Database