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STUDY: A low-fat, high-carb vegan diet could speed-up your metabolism and boost weight loss

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By the end of the study, the vegan group had lost an average of 13 pounds and a significant amount of body fat. They also maintained stable blood sugar levels, preventing type 2 diabetes.

CRYSTAL COX: A low-fat, high-carb vegan diet could speed weight loss by increasing the calories you burn after eating, without having to exercise. Researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Yale School of Medicine studied 244 overweight adults during a 16 week diet. Half of the group was randomly assigned to follow a low-fat vegan diet, and was provided with cooking tips. The other half were asked to follow their typical diet without any changes. Both groups kept their exercise habits the same… Participants also had plenty of protein on the diet, according to researchers, and supplemented with vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that can be hard to get from plant-based foods…

By the end of the study, published November 30 in JAMA Network Open, the vegan group had lost an average of 13 pounds as well as a significant amount of body fat. The control group didn’t lose a significant amount of weight. Vegan participants also burned 14% more calories, on average, after meals than before switching diets… Participants also showed improvements to insulin sensitivity, an important factor in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing type 2 diabetes…

Plant-based foods, particularly when they’re unprocessed, contain a lot of complex carbs, which can also boost the thermic effect and increase the number of calories you burn while digesting a meal. Contrary to the popular myth that carbohydrates cause weight gain, the diet in the study was 75% carbs, 15% protein, and 10% fat… Participants in the study weren’t asked to restrict calories, but ended up eating an average of 350 calories less each day on a vegan diet…

These findings help explain previous studies showing that veganism can be an effective strategy for weight loss, according to Dr. Hana Kahleova, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit that advocates for plant-based diets, and lead author of the study.

“We’ve known for such a long time that a vegan diet helps for weight loss and helps with diabetes but we haven’t understood the underlying mechanism, why the vegan diet works,” Kahleova told Insider. The calorie-burning boost from vegan diets occurs for several reasons, according to Kahleova. First, vegan diets tend to be filled with whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. As a result, vegans end up eating a lot of fiber, an important nutrient that helps regulate digestion.

Fiber also takes a lot of energy to digest. As the body works to break down fiber, it generates heat, burning calories in the process. This is known as the thermic effect of food. This could be especially important for older adults. The average age of participants was 53, a time when many people notice a decline in their metabolism and may have a harder time losing weight as a result…

Previous research has also found that vegan and vegetarian diets can help improve blood sugar control even without weight loss, suggesting that high-fiber, plant-based diets have additional benefits. Kahleova said the next step in this research is studying whether people with type 1 diabetes could also benefit. SOURCE…

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