Looking for a diet that is more beneficial for weight loss and keeps your cholesterol in control? Try a vegan diet!
According to a new study, a vegan diet is more effective for weight loss than a Mediterranean diet.
The findings of the study were published in the ‘Journal of the American College of Nutrition’.
The study found that a low-fat vegan diet has better outcomes for weight, body composition, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels, compared with a Mediterranean diet.
The study randomly assigned participants, who were overweight and had no history of diabetes, to a vegan diet or a Mediterranean diet in a 1:1 ratio. For 16 weeks, half of the participants started with a low-fat vegan diet that eliminated animal products and focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
The other half started with the Mediterranean diet, which followed the PREDIMED protocol, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy, and extra virgin olive oil while limiting or avoiding red meat and saturated fats.
Neither group had a calorie limit, and participants did not change exercise or medication routines unless directed by their personal doctors. As part of the crossover design, participants then went back to their baseline diets for a four-week washout period before switching to the opposite group for an additional 16 weeks.
The study found that within 16 weeks on each diet:
- Participants lost an average of 6 kilograms (or about 13 pounds) on the vegan diet, compared with no mean change on the Mediterranean diet.
- Participants lost 3.4 kg (about 7.5 pounds) more fat mass on the vegan diet.
- Participants saw a greater reduction in visceral fat by 315 cm3 on the vegan diet.
- The vegan diet decreased total and LDL cholesterol levels by 18.7 mg/dL and 15.3 mg/dL, respectively, while there were no significant cholesterol changes on the Mediterranean diet.
- Blood pressure decreased on both diets, but more on the Mediterranean diet (6.0 mm Hg, compared to 3.2 mmHg on the vegan diet).