Obesity has been related to various diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and presents a major health challenge for people and governments across the world. To combat the associated risks, it is important to understand how different dietary interventions work and accordingly work towards addressing the problem.
According to a new study on JAMA Network, a low-fat plant-based diet reduces body weight by reducing energy intake and increasing postprandial metabolism i.e. metabolism after having a meal. It also reported that people following a vegan diet have lower concentrations of lipids compared with those following omnivorous diets. This is particularly important because the accumulation of lipids in muscle and liver cells may also be associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
The study conducted by researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine stated that obesity is uncommon in individuals whose diets are based on plant-derived foods. In clinical trials, such diets caused weight loss, for which two explanations have been offered in the study. First, a high-fibre, low-fat diet has a low energy density, which reduces energy intake. Second, a low-fat, vegan diet increases the thermic effect of food, which accounts for approximately 10% of total energy expenditure.
The aim of this study was to measure the effects of a low-fat vegan diet on body weight, insulin resistance, postprandial metabolism, and intramyocellular and hepatocellular lipid levels in overweight adults. The 16-week randomised clinical trial was conducted between January 2017 and February 2019 in Washington DC, United States.