A new study adds to the mounting evidence that when it comes to weight loss, plant-based diets produce consistently favorable results. Body Mass Index (BMI) and cardiometabolic risk factors like cholesterol and visceral fat are powerful clinical tools for estimating risk related to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. In this randomized cross-over trial, in which participants received a sequence of treatments, researchers compared the effectiveness of a vegan versus Mediterranean diet on weight loss and cardiometabolic risk factors.
Sixty-two overweight adults (BMI >24.9) were randomized to either a vegan or Mediterranean diet for 16-weeks. At the end of the first period, participants returned to their baseline diets for a 4-week washout period. Participants were then crossed-over to try the alternate diet for another 16-week period. Echoing the findings of the previous Lyon and PREDIMED diet studies, researchers found that a vegan diet resulted in greater weight loss (average net loss = 13 lbs), subcutaneous fat loss (average net loss= 7.5 lbs), visceral fat loss (average net loss= 124 in3) than a Mediterranean diet. A vegan diet also resulted in a greater drop in total cholesterol (average=18.7mg/dL) and LDL-cholesterol (average= 15.3mg/dL) when compared with a Mediterranean diet.
Go deeper: Curious about trying a vegan diet? The best way to start is with one vegan meal a day.