According to a report by the researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a plant-based diet can help in improving cardiometabolic risk factors in individuals, especially obese and overweight.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, stated that steady metabolism can lead to faster weight loss.
In a randomised experiment, the researchers assigned overweight participants who had no history of diabetes to an intervention in a 1:1 ratio.
Participants in the intervention group were asked to follow a low-fat, plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes with no calorie limit for 16 weeks. Neither group was made to change the diet, exercise, or medication routines unless directed by their personal doctors.
The researchers noted in their findings that the plant-based group increased after-meal calorie burn by 18.7 per cent, on average, after 16 weeks, compared to insignificant changes noted in the control group.
The control group`s after-meal burn did not change significantly. Study author Hana Kahleova, MD, Ph.D., director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee said: “These findings are ground breaking for the 160 million Americans struggling with overweight and obesity. Over the course of years and decades, burning more calories after every meal can make a significant difference in weight management.”
Those in the plant-based group reduced the fat inside the liver and muscle cells by 34 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, while the control group did not experience significant changes. Fat stored in these cells has been linked to insulin resistance and Type-2 diabetes.
“When fat builds up in liver and muscle cells, it interferes with insulin`s ability to move glucose out from the bloodstream and into the cells. After just 16 weeks on a low-fat, plant-based diet, study participants reduced the fat in their cells and lowered their chances for developing Type-2 diabetes,” added Dr Kahleova.