Veggie lovers, rejoice! A new study claims that those who eat a vegetarian diet not only lose twice the amount of weight compared to dieters who eat meat, but they also speed up their metabolism by reducing muscle fat.
Scientists from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine examined how calorie-restricted diets affected 74 patients with Type 2 diabetes. Some participants ate a vegetarian diet (fruits, grains, vegetables and nuts). The other group ate a conventional low-cal, anti-diabetic diet (typically, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, poultry and fish). Ultimately, participants in both groups were not only eating 500 calories less per day than they did previously, but they were also exercising.
The results? After six months on their respective diets, the conventional dieters lost an average of 7 pounds, while the vegetarian dieters dropped nearly double that (just under 14 pounds)!
Researchers also analyzed participants’ fat-storage tissue (called adipose), finding that while both groups lost an equal amount of subcutaneous fat, those on the vegetarian diet lost more muscle fat. “This finding is important for people who are trying to lose weight, including those suffering from metabolic syndrome and/or Type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Hana Kahleová, lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, said in a statement. “But it is also relevant to anyone who takes their weight management seriously and wants to stay lean and healthy.”
Meat- and animal product-free diets have always been a popular option for those looking to lose weight and take advantage of other health benefits. In 2015, Beyoncé famously shed weight with the help of her nutritionist and trainer Marco Borges’ 22-Day Revolution vegan diet. Another benefit of going meat-free, according to actress Kate Hudson, is that it’s good for your skin.
Before you decide to cut meat out of your diet for good, it’s important to study up on nutrition. Just as you would on any weight-loss program, you need to watch your calories while maintaining nutritional balance. Lean proteins like lentils, nuts, seeds, beans and low- or nonfat dairy products paired with fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good choices. Processed carbohydrates and proteins and foods high in sugar are generally not.
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever tried a vegetarian diet to lose weight? What do you think of this new study? Would you be able to cut meat from your diet?