A plant-based diet promotes healthy intestinal flora which may promote fat loss without restricting calories, a new study has discovered.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine conducted a new study to explain the mechanism that aids vegans in potentially losing twice as much weight as non-vegans while consuming the same number of calories.
In a randomized controlled trial, the researchers enrolled 148 overweight and obese participants and instructed half of them to follow a low-fat vegan diet for a period of 16 weeks without any calorie restriction.
The study team found that a vegan diet promoted healthy bacterial flora in the gut, which not only helped against insulin sensitivity but also improved digestion along with other metabolic pathways, leading to weight loss.
Dr. Hana Kahleova, lead author and director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, told MedScape Medical News that participants on the vegan diet lost almost an extra pound a week as compared to those on a non vegan diet.
The weight loss observed was largely because of a drop in fat mass. The fat normally stored in the abdominal cavity known as visceral fat was also significantly reduced with the vegan eating plan.
Dr. Kahleova said: “Eating a plant-based diet with ample fiber changes the gut microbiome composition for the better by feeding the right kind of bacteria.”
The team assessed the gut microbiome composition of participants and found the bacteroidetes species of bacteria increased in those on the vegan diet.
These types of bacteria are known to digest fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids that positively affect metabolic health.
Kahleova’s team noted the presence of a particular species called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii that feeds on plant fiber and produces short-chain fatty acids that help regulate insulin production important for avoiding diabetes, improve cardiac health, reduce body fat and boost immunity.
“Lower counts of these bacteria have been described in patients with diabetes, and this has been associated with insulin resistance and inflammation,” said Dr Kahleova.
The results of the study were presented at the 2019 annual meeting for the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
Has adopting a plant-based diet impacted your weight? Tell us in the comments section below!
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