People may choose a vegan diet for a variety of reasons, be it for the environment, animal ethics or health.

However, some people give the vegan diet a try purely to lose excess weight — and perhaps for good reason.

Vegans tend to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than the general population, and several studies acknowledge that a vegan diet can promote weight loss .

Not to mention, a well-planned vegan diet is nutritious, can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and may even decrease your risk of certain diseases.

This article explains how a vegan diet can help you lose weight and shares some tips on how to follow this diet in a healthy way.

Studies Show Vegan Diets Cause Weight Loss

Observational studies often report vegans to be thinner or to have lower BMIs than the general population .

In addition, randomized controlled trials, the gold standard in scientific research, show that when all other factors are controlled for, vegan diets can help participants lose significant amounts of weight.

In one study, people following a vegan diet for 18 weeks lost 9.3 pounds (4.2 kg) more than those who made no dietary changes .

Another study compared vegan diets to vegetarian, pescatarian, semi-vegetarian and omnivorous diets.

Participants assigned to the vegan group lost an average of 7.5% of their body weight over the 4-month study period. This was more than twice as much weight as the average lost in each of the other four groups.

A vegan diet even appears to help people lose weight more effectively than diets commonly recommended by several different health authorities.

In fact, a low-fat vegan diet helped participants in one study lose 2 to almost 3 times more weight than diets recommended by the American Dietetics Association (ADA), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) .

In a study that followed up with participants one year after the initial study period, researchers reported that all participants regained some weight.

However, those initially on the vegan diet remained 5 pounds (2.3 kg) lighter than those initially assigned to the control weight loss diet .

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