Thursday, February 5, 2015

Quick Tip: Eat a mostly plant-based diet for health & weight loss!

            As a dietitian, I always preach to my clients to cut back on their meat intake and eat as many non-starchy vegetables as possible each day. Extra meat leads to extra calories being consumed… and meat contains no fiber. Fiber helps to fill you up, breed healthy probiotics, and keep food moving through you so not every calorie is absorbed. I met with a client the other day who is just another who has been super successful losing weight and keeping it off. She claims: “I attribute the majority of my weight loss to the fact that you told me to eat 5 cups of vegetables per day.” It’s true- my clients that eat the most non-starchy vegetables tend to be the most successful for losing weight and improving their lab values.

            Luckily, yet another study has come out backing my claims. This study looked at 15 studies where participants followed anything from a vegan to a vegetarian diet either for weight loss or for other health reasons. There were over 755 participants among these studies who were not given any calorie goals nor exercise routine to follow. These individuals were merely given instructions on what type of vegetarian diet to follow (vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, etc.). The average weight loss for participants was over 10 pounds in a 44 week period (keep in mind, the study lengths varied), with people starting with heavier weights losing more. The takeaway from this meta-analysis is that you can lose weight (and improve health!) by simply consuming a plant-based diet. Imagine the results if you paid attention to calories and exercised too!

Source: Barnard NB, Levin SM, Yokoyama Y. A systematic review and meta-analysis of changes in body weight in clinical trials of vegetarian diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 January [epub ahead of print] doi:
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