What if I told you there was a diet that could potentially double your weight loss results while simultaneously reducing your risk of cancer, hypertension, and diabetes?
If your aim is to lose weight by eating healthier, more nutritious food, where do you begin? Searching weight loss in Google will return around 70 million results, each giving you their own take on the best way to lose weight. Do you choose the paleo diet? What about the Atkins or ketogenic diet? The Zone diet is popular again, should you go with that?
The good news is, If your goal is simply weight loss, it doesn’t much which diet you choose, as a weight loss diets work on one principle; calorie restriction. Whether you’re on the paleo diet or the Atkins diet, the zone diet or the vegan diet, you will only see results if you eat fewer calories than you consume. However, depending on which diet you choose, certain biomarkers for heart health and other diseases can go up or down.
Take a study done by a small Cleveland clinic on a group of obese children, ages 9 to 18, who were split into two groups of 14. The children in each group followed either the diet prescribed by the American Heart Association or a no fat added, plant based diet or the diet. The two diets are similar in that they both call for a whole foods diet, but the AHA’s diet allows for some refined grains, dairy products as long as they’re low fat, non-tropical vegetable oils, and lean meat, poultry, and fish in moderation.
In contrast, the plant based, no fat added diet contained no animal products at all, so no fish, meat, eggs, poultry, or dairy of any kind. The diet also requires lowering fat intake from foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados, and removes the use of oil altogether.
After a month of being on the diet, both groups of children were found to have lost weight. However, the group eating the low fat, plant based diet showed a greater improvement between the ratio of lean mass to fat mass than those on the AHA diet. Furthermore, the plant based diet reduced markers for cardiovascular risk factors and inflammation like low-density lipoprotein and c-reactive protein. Insulin sensitivity, a test directly related to the development of type two diabetes, also showed greater improvements in those following the plant based diet than those following the AHA diet. These amazing results were all experienced by the children in a months time.
While the study is very small, it does seem to show just how powerful and quick of an effect eating proper diet can have on the human body. When your body gets the nutrition it needs and is spared from the foods that cause it harm, it will go right to work restoring health and harmony.
In 2013, at the annual meeting for The Obesity Society, Dr. Brie Turner-McGrievy gave her findings from a study conducted on the effects vegan and vegetarian diets had on weight loss compared to omnivorous diets. The study, which emphasized eating low fat and low glycemic index food, but did not emphasize a reduction of calories.
After 8 weeks, the average weight lost by those on the vegan and vegetarian diets was almost double compared to those who were consuming meat. While the researchers were not ready to state why the vegan and vegetarian dieters were able to lose twice as much weight, it was mentioned it’s possibly due to a significant reduction in saturated fat. Eating a low fat, plant based diet is also much more nutrient dense and calorie light compared to omnivorous diets, likely helping dieters consume fewer calories by feeling more full and content following each meal.
If you want to lose weight, but you’re not quite sure where to start, the best advice is to start by introducing more whole foods into your diet while removing the processed foods. Whether you’re on the zone diet, the paleo diet, the Atkins diet, or a vegan or vegetarian diet, you’ll begin to lose weight as you reduce your calories below what you burn in a day.
However, if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and if you want to live vibrantly, a more plant based approach to your diet will put you in the right direction. At this point, there is little question adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet will not only help you rapidly restore an ideal body weight, but will also bring your body back into balanced health.
For those interested in eating a plant based diet, but have questions about what to eat and what special considerations will need to be had, I’ve put together a series of videos as a complete beginners guide to plant based, whole food nutrition for weight loss and fitness. You can find the link to the first video in the description.
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