Vegan Diet Best Way to Drop Weight

Meat-free eating doesn't have to be bland. Dishes such as couscous with fresh-roasted vegetables will delight your taste buds. (Photo: svariophoto/Getty Images)

Meat-free eating doesn’t have to be bland. Dishes such as couscous with fresh-roasted vegetables will delight your taste buds. (Photo: svariophoto/Getty Images)

The latest research results are in, and it’s official — the best way to take off weight and keep it off is to follow a vegan diet. A new study published in the October issue of the journal Nutrition found that veganism may be the secret to staying slim and protecting your health by lowering the saturated fat in your diet.

For the research, scientists at the University of North Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health compared weight loss across a group of more than 60 study participants after the members of the group spent six months on one of five eating plans. The diets were:

  1. Vegan, which excludes all animal products.
  2. Semi-vegetarian, which allows occasional meat intake.
  3. Pesco-vegetarian, which excludes all meat, but includes fish and seafood.
  4. Vegetarian, which excludes all meat and seafood but includes animal products like eggs and butter.
  5. And omnivorous, a diet that includes all foods.

The racially diverse group of study participants included women and men. All four of the groups on the vegetarian regimens attended weekly group meetings. The omnivores did not hold group sessions.

After six months, the group on the vegan diet had lost more weight than the members of all the other diet groups by 4.3 percent or 16.5 pounds.

Carbs? No Problem

According to Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy, the study’s lead author, the vegan diet was high in carbohydrates that rated low on the glycemic index. Foods that score low on the index are less likely to raise your blood sugar. These foods include oat bran, sweet potato, lentils, beans, peas and most non-starchy vegetables.

“We’ve gotten somewhat carb-phobic here in the U.S. when it comes to weight loss. This study might help alleviate the fears of people who enjoy pasta, rice, and other grains but want to lose weight,” Turner-McGrievy explained in a university interview.

The vegan diet group also realized other health benefits. They have much lower body mass index measurements (fat-to-muscle ratio), and they had much lower levels of saturated fat and fat in general.

Turner-McGrievy said that she was surprised by the study results because she expected the pesco-vegetarian group (whose diet included fish) to lose the most weight. But there was no weight loss difference between the pesco-vegetarian and semi-vegetarian groups.

If you want to try living vegan, delicious non-meat options include nuts, whole grains, pasta and any type of fruit.

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