When it comes to losing weight, you can take up a super effective workout like fat-blasting cardio or strength training. On top of that, you can make some key adjustments to what you eat. For instance, a new study has found that opting for a plant-based diet can lead to significant weight loss.
In the study that was published in Obesity Science & Practice, researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine took a look at 244 participants who were all considered to be overweight. At the beginning of the study, researchers noted various aspects such as the participants’ body composition and estimated dietary advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). The participants were then split into two groups; one that kept their dietary habits the same and a second that switch to a low-fat, plant-based diet for a total of 16 weeks.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that while AGEs decreased by 15% for those who didn’t change their dietary habits, those who had switched to a low-fat, plant-based diet saw a decrease of 79%. As for the latter percentage, researchers noted that 55% of the reduction was due to eating less meat, 26% of the reduction was due to eating less dairy, and 15% was due to the reduction of dietary fat. When meat consumption was broken down even further, it was noted that reducing the consumption of processed meat led to a 27% decrease while white meat equaled a 59% decrease. Beyond that, those who kept their diet the same lost around 1 pound, while those who started eating the plant-based diet lost around 14 pounds. This was primarily related to fat mass, specifically visceral fat.
“Meats and fried foods tend to be the highest in advanced glycation end products, so it makes sense that the low-fat plant-based diet in this study would be significantly lower in AGEs than the control group who consumed meat,” Stephanie Wells, MS, RD, a registered dietitian specializing in vegan and plant-based diets, tells Eat This, Not That! “The association of weight loss with AGEs is likely due at least in part to the fact that the low-fat, plant-based participants were eating less meat and fried foods, which tend to be low in fiber and higher in calories, respectively.”
“Plant-based diets have been shown in multiple studies to lead to greater weight loss than diets that include animal products,” Wells explains. “This is likely due to the lower caloric load of fruits and vegetables and the fact that many plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber.”
In addition, Wells also points out that “fiber is helpful for weight loss because it helps us feel full for a longer period of time after eating.”
“In this study, much of the fat loss was visceral fat. This is an ideal outcome considering the association between visceral fat and the risk of cardiometabolic diseases,” Wells notes.