Vegetarian diets produce the most weight loss, research finds.
Diets that do not contain meat are linked to significantly more weight loss.
Vegetarian dieters typically lose around 4.4 pounds more than those following diets that include meat.
A vegan diet is even more effective for losing weight, with an average weight loss of 5.5 pounds more than those eating meat.
Vegetarian diets are particularly effective for weight loss because of the high intake of fruits, whole grains and vegetables.
Vegetables and whole grains typically have a high glycaemic index, meaning they do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Fruits are rich in fibre and contain many antioxidants and minerals that naturally protect the body.
Fibre helps to slow down the rate at which food leaves the stomach, which stops people from feeling hungry.
Eating more fibre is repeatedly linked to weight loss by research.
The conclusions come from a review of 12 separate studies including 1,151 participants in total.
The studies all compared people who were dieting on vegetarian diets with those dieting while still eating meat.
There are two types of vegetarian diets, the authors write:
“The two major types of vegetarian diets are the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, in which meats are avoided but consumption of milk and eggs is allowed, and the vegan diet, in which all products originating from animals are avoided.”
The results showed that vegetarian diets were superior for weight loss.
The study’s author explain the results:
“Vegetarian diets appeared to have significant benefits on weight reduction compared to non-vegetarian diets.
Further long-term trials are needed to investigate the effects of vegetarian diets on body weight control.”
Another study has found that vegetarian diets can double weight loss.
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 of General Internal Medicine (Huang et al., 2019).