Plant-Based Diets Ideal for Weight Loss

Grocery shopping

Woman holding a shopping bag full of fresh food

Vegan and vegetarian, or whole-food, plant-based diets are widely known for certain health qualities, often connected with weight loss.  The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics backed up this view recently.  Researchers looked at 15 studies that involved individuals taking up plant-based diets (vegan, raw vegan and vegetarian) and found that the average amount of weight participants lost over one month was 10 pounds.  An average of 7.48 pounds was lost with those who didn’t stay on their diets completely.  Eleven of the studies involved vegan diets (no animal products or byproducts) and raw vegan, which means no foods are cooked above 118 degrees.  Out of these studies, half were intended to treat health issues such as arthritis, chronic pain and diabetes and the other half were for weight loss.

The weight loss results were based on the diet’s impact on the body alone, not including any limits on calories or exercise routines.  Little difference was found in the amounts of weight lost between strict and almost vegan diets.  The most weight was lost in those who had the goal to lose weight, and were of an older age and heavier.

One of the study’s researchers, Susan Levin, believes that plant-based diets are advantageous for those who don’t want to be concerned about portion sizes or deal with counting calories.  Plant-based diets are excellent for naturally reducing chances of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Plant-based foods are an excellent, clean way to eat. Plus, they’re more easily digested than meat and dairy.  Researchers indicate that the results in these studies might be related to the high fiber, low fat quality that many plant-heavy diets include.  They also state that each person’s outcome can be “highly variable.” They noted, “some evidence suggests that low-fat, plant-based diets can increase postprandial energy expenditure.”

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