HomeWorld NewsVegetarian diet more effective at weight loss, according to study

Vegetarian diet more effective at weight loss, according to study

Vegetarian diet more effective at weight loss, according to study

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Video: Are Vegetarian Diets The Most Effective Way To Lose Weight? (Provided by Wochit News)

When it comes to weight loss, some people opt for ultra-calorie-restrictive diets (and often end up later gaining the weight back because those diets aren’t sustainable). But a new study found that following a vegetarian diet is twice as effective in reducing body weight as conventional low-calorie diets. On top of that, dieters who go vegetarian may also boost their metabolism by reducing their muscle fat.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the (small) study set out to examine the effect of vegetarian diets on patients with type 2 diabetes. Scientists from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine analyzed 74 subjects with type 2 diabetes, who were randomly assigned to follow a vegetarian diet (mostly fruits, grains, vegetables, and nuts, with the only animal product being low-fat yogurt) or a conventional low-calorie, anti-diabetic diet.

After six months, those following the vegetarian diet lost an average of 6.2 kg, as compared to 3.2 kg for those following the conventional diet, which means the vegetarian diet was nearly twice as effective in reducing the participants’ body weight. The scientists also looked at the adipose (fat-storage) tissue in the participants’ thighs to see how the diets affected the fat on the surface of and inside muscles. Both of the diets had a similar reduction in subcutaneous fat, but more muscle fat was lost by those on the vegetarian diet.

“This finding is important for people who are trying to lose weight, including those suffering from metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes,” lead study author Dr. Hana Kahleová said in a statement. “But it is also relevant to anyone who takes their weight management seriously and wants to stay lean and healthy.”

Vitamin B12: Most Americans don't eat enough vegetables, so you'd think vegetarians would be the healthiest people around. It's true that <a href="http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/does-eating-meat-cause-cancer/">reducing red meat consumption</a> can lower your risk of heart disease, and a vegetarian diet may also <a href="http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/diabetes-complications/1">lower your risk of diabetes</a>, high blood pressure, and even cancer. But <a href="http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full">studies have shown</a> that vegetarians and vegans (those who don't eat any animal-based products, including dairy and eggs) also run the risk of deficiencies in certain nutrients, notably <a href="http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/vitamin-b12-deficiency/1">not getting enough vitamin B12</a>. 'Vitamin B12 is important in maintaining appropriate brain functioning and blood flow throughout our bodies and is mainly found in animal products, which is why someone following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle may develop a deficiency,' explains Amanda Hostler, a dietetic intern at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. 'Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs as the disease megaloblastic anemia, characterized by a low red blood cell count, with the red blood cells being larger than normal.' Symptoms include fatigue, disorientation, memory loss, and rapid heart beat. To make sure you're getting enough B12, try having nutritional yeast, soy milk, fortified ready-to-eat cereals, and (if you eat some animal products), dairy, eggs, fish, and shellfish. While whole foods are the best source, supplements can assure the adequate intake of 2.4 micrograms a day, especially if you're vegan. 8 Nutrients You’re Missing If You’re Vegetarian or Vegan

Slideshow: 8 Nutrients You’re Missing If You’re Vegetarian or Vegan (Provided by Reader’s Digest)

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