Vegan diets help with weight loss and diabetes, new study shows

Maastricht, Netherlands - Want to shed those pounds or improve your quality of life despite suffering Type 2 diabetes? A vegan diet should be on the menu, according to a new study.

A vegan diet has been shown to help reduce weight and the effects of Type 2 diabetes (stock image).
A vegan diet has been shown to help reduce weight and the effects of Type 2 diabetes (stock image).  © 123RF/jchizhe

Experts presented evidence at the European Congress on Obesity in Maastricht showing that sticking to a vegan diet for at least 12 weeks could boost weight loss and improve blood sugar control.

The data, taken from 11 randomized trials including 796 people, focused on those who have Type 2 diabetes or are overweight – that means a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25.

The studies showed that, in comparison with control diets, vegan diets reduced body weight on average by about 9 pounds and also led to a drop in BMI and lower blood sugar levels.

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What's more, analysis showed there were greater reductions in body weight and BMI when vegan diets were compared with people's normal food intake than if they were compared to other diet plans to lose weight, such as portion control or a Mediterranean diet.

There was little or no effect of vegan diets on blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides (a type of fat stored in fat cells).

Making fruit and vegetables a staple of your diet

Regardless of whether you go full vegan, experts recommend integrating plenty of veggies in your diet (stock image).
Regardless of whether you go full vegan, experts recommend integrating plenty of veggies in your diet (stock image).  © 123Rf/foodandmore

A vegan diet contains only plants – such as vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits – and foods made from plants.

Regardless of whether you go full vegan, experts recommend munching on at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, with meals including potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, or other starchy carbohydrates.

People should also have some dairy alternatives, such as soy drinks and yogurts, as well as beans, pulses, and other proteins.

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The new study, from Anne-Ditte Termannsen and colleagues at the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.

"This rigorous assessment of the best available evidence to date indicates with reasonable certainty that adhering to a vegan diet for at least 12 weeks may result in clinically meaningful weight loss and improve blood sugar levels, and therefore can be used in the management of overweight and Type 2 diabetes," she said.

"Vegan diets likely lead to weight loss because they are associated with a reduced calorie intake due to a lower content of fat and higher content of dietary fiber. However, more evidence is needed regarding other cardiometabolic outcomes."

Cover photo: 123RF/jchizhe

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