George Washington University researchers have found that the vegan diet, supplemented with B12 vitamins, is an effective way to lose weight and seems to confirm the end of an era predominated by low-carb diets.
In an age where diet choices are influenced by health, environmental and food safety concerns, vegan and vegetarianism have been gaining in popularity.
In it, researchers from George Washington University School of Medicine write that vegan diets supplemented with vitamin B12, can be "nutritionally adequate for long-term use".
The study's lead author, Neal Barnard, MD of George Washington University School of Medicine and the Washington Center for Clinical Research, is also founder of the Physicians Council for Responsible Medicine, an organization that promotes vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and campaigns against the use of animals in research.
As for the low-carbohydrate approach to weight loss, this has been immensely popular in recent years but it is now waning in favor of the low-glycemic approach, whereby foods are given a rating depending on how fast they are absorbed into the blood stream.
Ten percent of energy was derived from fat, 15 percent from protein and 75 percent from carbohydrate.
Usually vegans may also include avocados, olives, nuts, nut butters and seeds in their diet but they were proscribed for this study, which was designed to be low in fat.
The other group followed a control diet based on the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, of which total fat made up 30 percent or less, saturated fat seven percent or less, protein around 15 percent and carbohydrate more than 55 percent of energy.
There were no limits placed on energy intake for either group, and they were asked to maintain their usual level of exercise.
When it came to body weight, those on the intervention diet
lost a mean of 5.8 kg, compared to 3.8 kg for the control group -- the former being a loss equivalent to weight loss from a reduced calorie (eg 1200 kcal per day) diet, according to the researchers.
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