Evidence that vegetables – the more the merrier – are good for you is legion. And here’s more: Researchers who analysed studies of people put on vegetarian or vegan diets found that they lost more than seven pounds regardless of calorie counting or exercise plans.
The study, published last Thursday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, comes as many people are trying to stick to – or already have abandoned – New Year’s plans to lose weight with the dozens and dozens of plans on the market.
The good news for such people is that they “don’t need to monitor portions or calories” and still can lose weight, said one of the researchers, Susan Levin, director of nutrition education at the Physicians Committee for Social Responsibility.
“This is not about moderation, it’s about healthful choices.”
Dieters could approach their diet with this idea: “What is the lifestyle choice I can make that’s sustainable?” Levin said.
The researchers reviewed 15 studies focused on plant-based diets, from vegan (no animal products) to vegetarian diets in which followers eat eggs and dairy products but no meat.
Half the studies were intended to help participants lose weight; the others were to treat health concerns such as diabetes, chronic pain or arthritis.
Obesity and overweight are linked to such diseases as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Observational studies show that people who eat plant-based diets weigh less than those who don’t, said the researchers, from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The group, headed by Dr Neal Barnard, has long been a vocal advocate for vegetarian diets and a supporter of animal welfare organisations.