Celebrities like Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Lopez have raved about the wonders of vegan living, and now a new study backs up their views.
Researchers from E-Da Hospital in Taiwan found that those on vegetarian and vegan diets see better results than people following other eating plans. Vegans lost the most weight, shedding 2.5kg more than non-vegetarian dieters (that's just over 5lbs in imperial terms). The vegetarians lost around 2kg (just over 4lbs) more than dieters who were consuming animal products.
'Vegetarian diets are more effective than non-vegetarian diets for weight loss'
Twelve different diet trials were looked at, involving 1,151 dieters following a specific eating regime for between nine and 74 weeks, with study authors then reaching their conclusion.
Results have been published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and mark the first time research has combined the findings from numerous projects that weighed up the results of vegetarian diets against other eating plans.
The other diets looked at include ones recommended by the American Diabetes Association or the US National Cholesterol Education Program, as well as the Atkins Diet.
Researcher Dr Ru-Ti Huang explains that the high levels of whole grains, fruits and vegetables consumed on a meat-free diet may play a role in losing more weight. Whole grains and vegetables are low GI foods, and don't cause blood sugar levels to spike, while fruit is full of fibre, antioxidants, minerals and protective chemicals. Whole grains also full of soluble fibres, which aid good digestion and help to delay the speed which food leaves the stomach.
"Vegetarian diets are more effective than non-vegetarian diets for weight loss," Dr Huang said, adding that more research needs to done to determine the effect of vegetarian diets on weight control and cardio-metabolic risk.
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