diets almost twice as effective in reducing body weight, study finds
June 12, 2017
Taylor & Francis
who go vegetarian not only lose weight more effectively than those on conventional
low-calorie diets but also improve their metabolism by reducing muscle fat, a
new study has found.
Dieters who go vegetarian
not only lose weight more effectively than those on conventional low-calorie
diets but also improve their metabolism by reducing muscle fat, a new study
published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has found.
Losing muscle fat
improves glucose and lipid metabolism so this finding is particularly important
for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, says lead author, Dr.
Hana Kahleová, Director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine in Washington DC.
with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to follow either a vegetarian diet
or a conventional anti-diabetic diet. The vegetarian diet consisted of
vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits and nuts, with animal products limited to a
maximum of one portion of low-fat yoghurt per day; the conventional diabetic
diet followed the official recommendations of the European Association for the
Study of Diabetes (EASD). Both diets were restricted by 500 kilocalories per
day compared to an isocaloric intake for each individual.
The vegetarian diet was
found to be almost twice as effective in reducing body weight, resulting in an
average loss of 6.2kg compared to 3.2kg for the conventional diet.
Using magnetic resonance
imaging, Dr. Kahleová and colleagues then studied adipose (fat-storage) tissue
in the subjects’ thighs to see how the two different diets had affected
subcutaneous, subfascial and intramuscular fat (that is, fat under the skin, on
the surface of muscles and inside muscles).
They found that both
diets caused a similar reduction in subcutaneous fat. However, subfascial fat
was only reduced in response to the vegetarian diet, and intramuscular fat was
more greatly reduced by the vegetarian diet.
This is important as
increased subfascial fat in patients with type 2 diabetes has been associated
with insulin resistance, so reducing it could have a beneficial effect on
glucose metabolism. In addition, reducing intramuscular fat could help improve
muscular strength and mobility, particularly in older people with diabetes.
Dr. Kahleová said:
“Vegetarian diets proved to be the most effective diets for weight loss.
However, we also showed that a vegetarian diet is much more effective at
reducing muscle fat, thus improving metabolism. This finding is important for
people who are trying to lose weight, including those suffering from metabolic
syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes. But it is also relevant to anyone who takes
their weight management seriously and wants to stay lean and healthy.”
1. Hana Kahleova, Marta
Klementova, Vit Herynek, Antonin Skoch, Stepan Herynek, Martin Hill, Andrea
Mari, Terezie Pelikanova. The Effect of a Vegetarian vs Conventional
Hypocaloric Diabetic Diet on Thigh Adipose Tissue Distribution in Subjects with
Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Study. Journal of the American College of
Nutrition, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2017.