Plant-based diet is getting a lot of attention these days. But many people are somewhat carb-phobic when it comes to weight loss. It’s believed that you have to eat low carbohydrates diet (aka Atkins, ketogenic, or Paleo) to lose fat and weight. A current study suggest that you don’t need to fear carbohydrates and you can enjoy your rice, pasta, and other grains, even when you want to lose weight. Just don’t overindulge.
The month of December with all the holiday parties and gatherings full of delicious foods is a bit frustrating to many health conscious people and athletes who want to remain lean. They want to enjoy, yet, they don’t want to expand their waists too much. If you are one of them, you will love this new study by the University of South Carolina, which confirms that if you eat a plant-based diet you can drop weight and fat much faster than people who eat animal products such as meat and dairy.
Besides shedding unwanted weight, you will gain other health benefits, such as lowered BMI (body mass index), decreased fat and saturated fat, and improved macronutrients levels.
Plant-Based Diet for Weight Loss
For six months, while closely monitored by the research team, the study participants were asked to follow their randomly assigned diets:
- only consume plants in their diet
- a semi-vegetarian diet that would feature occasional intake of meat
- only include vegetables and seafood
- exclude all meat but would also feature animal products (such as eggs or dairy)
- follow an omnivorous diet, featuring vegetables and all kinds of animal products (meat, dairy, eggs and every other one).
After six months, the research team found that the plant-based diets’ weight loss was higher than the group with the omnivorous diet by an average of 4.3%, which may not seem much, but it was about 16.5 pounds. Which is a lot. What was also surprising, was that the pesco-vegetarian (vegetables and seafood) group didn’t do much better with their weight loss and it was no different than the semi-vegetarian or omnivorous groups.
If interested, read the entire study “Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial of five different diets” at The Journal of Nutrition.
What does this mean to you?
Just enjoy your holidays and don’t worry too much what you should or shouldn’t do. But you can make a little extra effort and eat more vegetables and fruits before you eat all the other rich and “bad” stuff. The plants will fill you nicely so you won’t have much space left for the other stuff. They also give your body the necessary and wanted nutrients, which means that you will have fewer cravings and feelings of temptations.
You will also feel greatly empowered if you make healthier choices and more motivated to keep eating healthy.
Then when you have some time off and free, you could sit down and reconsider your nutritional plan for 2015. Give the plants a chance. Not just to lose weight (even though it is a great benefit), but also for your longterm health and for your athletic prowess.
If you don’t know how to do it, feel free to experiment with “The Athlete’s Simple Guide to a Plant-Based Lifestyle“, whether you are an athlete or not. It is extremely simply written, gives you the main ideas, why’s, how’s, what’s, etc. But mostly it will inspire and motivate you to care for your body much better in the forthcoming future.
With all that, enjoy all the holiday parties and when you put something “bad” in your mouth and you think about me, the seed has been planted. :-)