Dieters who follow a vegetarian eating plan may lose almost twice as much weight, the results of a new study suggest.
Researchers randomly assigned two groups of people with type 2 diabetes to either a vegetarian diet or a standard weight loss diet. They found those on the vegetarian diet lost more weight and more body fat.
Both diets involved reducing daily calorie consumption by 500 calories a day. The standard weight loss diet in this study is a diet recommended for people with diabetes. The vegetarian diet consisted of leafy vegetables, nuts, fruit, and grains.
After six months, researchers found those in the vegetarian group had lost about twice as much weight as those in the other group – 6.2kg, compared with 3.2kg.
But this isn’t surprising – more people stuck to this diet compared with those on the standard weight loss diet. There may be many reasons why a few more participants in the vegetarian group stuck to their diet. And, because of the small numbers involved in the study (37 in each group), the results could be down to chance.
Type 2 Diabetes
What was glossed over in many media reporting on this he study was that it was carried out on overweight people with type 2 diabetes, and therefore the findings may not apply to other people trying to lose weight.
If you have type 2 diabetes and you’re overweight, you should aim to lose weight as this will help control your symptoms. Some people may benefit from switching to a vegetarian diet, but it’s not a magic bullet.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Institute for Clinical and Experimental medicine, Charles University, and the Institute of Endocrinology, all in the Czech Republic, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the US.
Funded by a grant from the Ministry of Health in Prague, the randomised controlled trial (RCT) involved participants with type 2 diabetes who either had a vegetarian diet or a conventional diabetic diet. They then had their fat measures taken.