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Vegetarian Diets Found to Be Twice as Effective for Weight Loss

Vegetarian Diets Found to Be Twice as Effective for Weight Loss


Veggie lovers rejoice. It turns out those who are on a vegetarian diet are losing weight more effectively and improving their metabolism by reducing muscle fat.

A new study published in the Journal of College Nutrition discovered the vegetarian diets trumped low-calorie diets when it came to losing and maintaining weight.

For those with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, this study is particularly important. Losing fat improves glucose and lipid metabolism, says lead author Dr. Hana Kahleová, Director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC.

Veggie vs. Conventional?

For the study, seventy-four subjects with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to follow either a vegetarian diet or a conventional anti-diabetic diet.

Vegetarian Diet: vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, and nuts, with animal products limited to a maximum of one portion of low-fat yogurt per day.

Conventional Diabetic Diet: diet following the official recommendations of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)

Both diets were restricted by 500 calories per day compared to an isocaloric intake for each individual. An isocaloric diet is a diet focused on meeting certain protein, carbohydrate and fat intake vs focusing on caloric intake.

The results were intriguing. The vegetarian diet was found to be almost twice as effective in reducing body weight compared to the conventional diabetic diet.

Those on the vegetarian diet lost an average of 14 pounds compared to 7 pounds for the conventional diet.

Furthermore, using an MRI, Dr. Kahleová and colleagues studied the fat storage in subject’s thighs to see how the two different diets had affected fat loss. The tested the fat under the skin, on the surface of muscles and inside the muscles.

They found that both diets caused a reduction in fat under the skin, however, the fat on the surface of the muscles responded only to the vegetarian diet, and fat inside the muscle was greatly reduced by the vegetarian diet.

Why is this important?

Increased fat under the skin is associated with insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, reducing it could have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism. Also, reducing fat in the muscle helps improve muscle strength and mobility, especially in older patients with diabetes.

Dr. Kahleová explained the results stating:

“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.”

Nutrition is crucial in the early recovery stages. Proper nutrition will help your body recover from the withdrawal stages of substance use disorder. Whether you choose to eat a predominantly vegetarian diet or a more conventional diet, the point is to be mindful of what you eat.

What are your thoughts on this study? Are there any areas that could have been improved? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please call now 1-800-777-9588.

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