A diet high in healthy carbohydrates and low in fat can lead to weight loss, recent research finds.
People in the study lost 14 pounds, on average, following a vegan diet in which they could eat as many calories as they liked.
They only had to avoid consuming more than 20-30 mg of fat each day and, naturally, avoid all meat products.
Another study has shown that going on a plant-based vegetarian diet can double weight loss (Kahleova et al., 2017).
Vegetarian diets can add up to 10 pounds of weight loss compared to traditional diets, research has found.
Not only can a high-carb diet lead to weight loss, it also leads to improved insulin function.
The study may surprise some as carbohydrates are often seen as ‘the enemy’ by people who are trying to lose weight.
Dr Hana Kahleova, the study’s first author, said:
“Fad diets often lead people to fear carbohydrates.
But the research continues to show that healthy carbohydrates — from fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains — are the healthiest fuel for our bodies.”
The study included 75 people who were split into two groups.
Around half went on a vegan diet while the remainder continued with their current diet.
Those going vegan concentrated on whole, complex carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
The results showed that people on the vegan diet lost an average of 14 pounds compared to no change in the control group.
The diet works partly because complex carbohydrates like those in healthy fruits and vegetables are high in fibre.
This gives a feeling of fullness without the added calories.
High fibre diet are often shown to be effective for weight loss.
They also reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer and heart disease.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Nutrients (Kahleova et al., 2020).