ATLANTA, GA – Most weight-loss interventions focus on reducing calories, but a new study shows that vegan and vegetarian dietary patterns can result in more weight loss than those that include meat without emphasizing caloric restriction. Results of the study were presented at a special session of The Obesity Society Annual Meeting.
“Many researchers agree that vegan eating styles are tied to lower BMI, lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and less weight gain with age,” said lead researcher Brie Turner-McGrievy, PhD, of the University of South Carolina. “We found that participants consuming vegan and vegetarian diets lost an average of 8.2 to 9.9 pounds over eight weeks while those consuming some meat lost 5.1 pounds.” At 6 months the vegans had lost 7% of their body weight, and those consuming meat 3%.
The reason for greater weight loss in the vegan and vegetarian groups remains to be studied, but may be due to changes in macronutrient content. In addition participants in this study most likely ate fewer calories as a result of the dietary changes they made to consume more vegan or vegetarian meals.
Said author Dr. Turner-McGrievy, “Diets that focus primarily on calorie restriction are a cornerstone of weight loss programs; however, they usually involve dietary self-monitoring, which many individuals find burdensome and can limit adherence.”
Because weight loss achieved by patients following plant-based diets in this study occurred without emphasizing caloric restriction, some individuals may find these types of dietary patterns easier to follow over the long term, according to the researchers.
This study validates many of the principles incorporated into the weight loss program run by our own nutritionist, Rick Weissinger R.D. M.S. Our program includes experts in yoga, exercise, psychotherapy, and even includes cooking lessons by a local chef. To learn more about our multidisciplinary weight loss program and how to get on our waiting list for our next informational open house, click here