Want to lose some weight quickly? Go on a vegetarian diet-and if you want to fast-track your weight loss, go one step further and make it a vegan diet.
Cutting animal products out of our diets is the fastest way to lose weight, and it beats most other diets around, including low-carb and no-carb diets.
The effects can be seen from nine weeks and up to 18 months after starting a vegetarian diet, say researchers from the E-Da Hospital in Taiwan.
In a study of 1,151 dieters, who were on different diet regimes, those who ate only vegetarian food lost 2.02 kilos (4.4 lbs) more than those eating a meat-based diet. But those who were on a vegan diet, where all animal produce, such as milk and cheese, is avoided, saw the greatest weight loss. Vegans lost 2.52 kilos (5.5 lbs) more than those on a vegetarian diet-or nearly 10 lbs more than those on a meat-based diet.
It's not just what is left out, but what is put in, that makes vegetarian and vegan diets so effective, say the researchers. Whole-grain products and vegetables have low glycaemic index (GI) values and don't cause blood sugar levels to spike, while fruits are rich in fibre, antioxidants, minerals and chemicals. The fibre in whole-grain products also slows the digestion and absorption of foods.
(Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine, June 2015; doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7)