When it comes to losing weight, there are various options regarding meal plans and eating habits that are safe for your overall health and also offer the kind of results that will help you reach your goals.
However, some are more effective than others. Indeed, according to new research, your best bet might be to opt for a vegan diet that doesn’t focus on restricting calories but does include a fair share of legumes.
A study by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that was recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics involved 244 participants who were all considered to be overweight. While some kept to their normal diets, others were asked to switch over to a low-fat vegan diet that didn’t require restricting calories.
After four months, those who stuck with a vegan diet dropped 13 pounds on average while participants who specifically consumed plenty of legumes lost weight and fat mass as well as visceral adipose tissue.
Related: Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians
“Our research shows that the best way to improve the quality of your health is to improve the quality of the foods you eat,” noted study co-author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee, according to EurekAlert!. “That means avoiding animal products and eating a vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.”
When it comes to why a vegan diet is so effective, Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD senior clinical dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, tells Eat This, Not That!, “It focuses (when it’s a whole food vegan diet) on unprocessed foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, plant proteins, and water content. This type of diet is very filling and satiating, so you don’t realize you’re eating fewer calories.”
On top of that, Hunnes says “these foods are anti-inflammatory, lower in calories, and help regulate hormones,” which “is good for health and weight loss.”
As for legumes, Hunnes explains that “they are incredibly high in fiber and protein which makes them very filling.” Beyond that, they also “raise your body temperature during digestion (the thermic effect of food), so you burn more calories to digest them.”
To find out more about how certain legumes can benefit your health, be sure to read Secret Side Effects of Eating Beans, Says Science.