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Vegan diet is great for weight loss, reveals a new study. Here’s all you need to know

Published on:8 February 2021, 17:06pm IST
There has been so much debate around which diet is beneficial for weight loss: vegan or a mediterranean diet. The cat is finally out of the bag! Read on to know more.
Geetika Sachdev
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You must monitor your fitness level when you're on a vegan diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reveals that a vegan diet is more beneficial for weight loss than a Mediterrean diet. The findings are based on an experiment that was conducted, wherein participants who were on a vegan diet lost an average of six kilograms, while the others who were on a Mediterreanenan diet witnessed no such change. 

“Previous studies have suggested that both mediterranean and vegan diets improve body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors, but until now, their relative efficacy had not been compared in a randomized trial,” said researcher Hana Kahleova from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit organization in the US.

This study brought in participants who were overweight and no diabetic history, both for the vegan and mediterranean diets. The study was conducted for a duration of 16 weeks, which had half the participants consuming a low-fat vegan diet, while the others followed a Mediterranean diet. 

What’s the difference between a vegan and Mediterranean diet? 

For the unversed, a vegan diet eliminates all kinds of animal products, and encourages the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. On the other hand, Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy, and extra virgin olive oil, with limited consumption of red meat and saturated fats. 

Vegan diet
Turns vegans and have fun! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Based on the findings of the study, it was revealed that those who followed the vegan diet decreased their levels of total and LDL cholesterol levels by 18.7 mg/dL and 15.3 mg/dL, respectively, while there were no significant cholesterol changes on the mediterranean diet. What’s more, a reduction in blood pressure was observed in both diets, but more in the mediterranean one. 

Is a vegan diet really good for weight loss?

There has also been previous research to show that those who follow a vegan diet have lower body mass index (BMI). Moreover, there have been some other studies conducted in the past that have shown a strong link between vegan diet and weight loss. 

A study that was conducted in 2016 that had participants who were consuming vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous diets for a period of six months. At the end of the study, it was revealed that people who were on a vegan diet lost more weight than other groups. 

There was also another study in 2016 that concluded that plant-based diets were more effective for weight loss, as compared to omnivorous diets. In fact, the participants also showed other improvements, including lower cholesterol and a lower risk of cancer.

Vegan diet
Losing weight has never been so easy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Is a vegan diet healthy?

As we already know, vegan diets try and promote healthy eating by eliminating foods that are high in fat, cholesterol and saturated fat. Also, they do not include animal foods in any way, which is why you end up giving up on a variety of pre-packaged foods that contain animal products. All in all, a vegan diet focuses on the consumption of fresh and whole food. 

Vegan diets are known to have several benefits, including lower rates of cancer, reduced inflammation, lower blood glucose, lower risk of diabetes, and decreased risk of cataract. 

However, there’s a challenge too, because vegans can suffer from some nutritional deficiencies, especially that of vitamin B12, which is present in animal products. As a vegan, you can try and get your fill of this vitamin from fortified cereals, fortified plant milk, some meat substitutes, and supplements. 

Here are some other foods that will help prevent other nutritional deficiencies: 

  • Soy, quinoa, and tempeh, which are vegan sources of protein.
  • Soy and almond milks, which are rich in vitamin D.
  • Nuts and seeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Vegan diet
Don’t think, go nuts for nuts. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Some tips to accelerate weight loss on a vegan diet
  • Be careful about not cooking your vegetables in too much oil. 
  • Eat fresh, whole foods as much as possible 
  • Eat healthy-fat vegan foods, such as avocados
  • Increase physical activity 
  • Take up an active hobby like gardening or cooking 
  • Eat smaller meals during the day, instead of consuming large portions 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.