You might know some people who only eat plant-based foods. They are called vegans. Being vegan means not eating any animal products.
This includes not just meat, but also dairy products like milk and cheese, and eggs. But what do vegans eat?
They consume a wide variety of foods like fruits and vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, bread, rice, pasta, and plant-based milk alternatives made from soy, coconut, and almonds.
The Study and Its Participants
A group of scientists from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine decided to study how a vegan diet affects people’s health.
They wanted to see if this kind of diet could help people lose weight and improve their body’s sensitivity to insulin, which is a hormone that controls blood sugar levels.
The scientists invited 219 healthy adults who live in Washington DC to take part in the study. All the participants had a body mass index (BMI) between 28 and 40, which is considered overweight or obese.
The scientists divided the participants into two groups. The first group was asked to follow a low-fat vegan diet for 16 weeks. This diet gets about 10% of its energy from fat.
The participants in this group attended weekly classes where they learned about plant-based nutrition and its health benefits. The second group was asked to make no changes to their usual diet.
After 16 weeks, the scientists found some interesting results. The participants who followed the vegan diet increased their intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes (like peas, beans, and lentils), meat alternatives, and whole grains.
They also ate less meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, and added fats.
What These Results Mean
The scientists noticed that the people on the vegan diet lost weight. The foods that helped most with weight loss were legumes.
They also found that the less meat, fish, and poultry the participants ate, the more weight they lost. The vegan diet also increased their intake of carbohydrates, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals while reducing their intake of fat.
The scientists noticed that the less fat the participants ate, the more weight and body fat they lost.
The researchers concluded that a low-fat vegan diet can improve the quality of your diet and your metabolic health.
This means it can help your body’s processes like breaking down food and converting it into energy work better.
Increasing the amount of low-fat plant foods and reducing high-fat and animal foods can lead to weight and fat loss.
Chapter 7: Further Readings
If you’re interested in nutrition and health, you might want to read more about how whole-grain foods could help you live longer and how taking vitamin D supplements could reduce your risk of dying from cancer.
You could also learn about how a special type of sugar from coconuts could help reduce blood pressure and make your arteries more flexible, or how an anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease.
The results of this research were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by a team led by Hana Kahleova.
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