Credit: © anna_shepulova / Fotolia

Credit: © anna_shepulova / Fotolia

Vegetarian diets are almost twice as effective for weight loss

Vegetarian diets are almost twice as effective for weight loss, according to new research from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Those who go vegetarian lose weight more effectively than those on conventional low-calorie diets, but also improve their metabolism by reducing muscle fat.

In the study, 74 participants with type-2 diabetes were assigned to follow either a vegetarian diet or a traditional anti-diabetic diet. The vegetarian diet consisted of vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits and nuts. The only animal products allowed were one serving of yogurt per day.

The vegetarian diet was found to be twice as effective at reducing body weight.

The study abstract provided the following methods and results:

Using magnetic resonance imaging, Dr. Kahleová and colleagues then studied adipose (fat-storage) tissue in the subjects’ thighs to see how the two different diets had affected subcutaneous, subfascial and intramuscular fat (that is, fat under the skin, on the surface of muscles and inside muscles).

They found that both diets caused a similar reduction in subcutaneous fat. However, subfascial fat was only reduced in response to the vegetarian diet, and intramuscular fat was more greatly reduced by the vegetarian diet.

This is important as increased subfascial fat in patients with type 2 diabetes has been associated with insulin resistance, so reducing it could have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism. In addition, reducing intramuscular fat could help improve muscular strength and mobility, particularly in older people with diabetes.

Dr. Kahleová the study author said: “Vegetarian diets proved to be the most effective diets for weight loss. However, we also showed that a vegetarian diet is much more effective at reducing muscle fat, thus improving metabolism. This finding is important for people who are trying to lose weight, including those suffering from metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes. But it is also relevant to anyone who takes their weight management seriously and wants to stay lean and healthy.”

The study showing that vegetarian diets are almost twice as effective for weight loss was published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

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1. “Vegetarian Diets Almost Twice as Effective in Reducing Body Weight, Study Finds.” Taylor & Francis. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2017.
2. “The Effect of a Vegetarian vs Conventional Hypocaloric Diabetic Diet on Thigh Adipose Tissue Distribution in Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Study.” Taylor & Francis. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, n.d. Web. 15 June 2017.

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