Study finds plant-based diets cause a surprising boost in metabolism

Brittany A. Roston - Nov 30, 2020, 2:02pm CST
Study finds plant-based diets cause a surprising boost in metabolism

A new study referred to as ‘groundbreaking’ has found that eating a low-fat plant-based diet may cause a notable boost in metabolism, leading to additional weight loss and improvements in metabolic health. The findings were based on a 16-week experiment in which some participants were instructed to eat a plant-based diet with no limit on daily caloric intake.

Increasing one’s metabolism increases the number of calories the body burns, a coveted reality than many who struggle with weight problems seek as a potential solution. Many studies have evaluated potential ways to increase metabolism, including ones focused on increasing brown fat levels.

The latest study comes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which evaluated how many calories people burn when they eat a plant-based diet compared to an ordinary omnivorous diet. The participants were overweight and did not have a history of diabetes.

In the case of the plant-based diet group, the participants spent 15 weeks eating foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. The control group continued their regular diets. Neither group had any change in the medication or exercise routines.

The results were surprising. According to the study, the plant-based diet group experienced an average after-meal increase of 18.7-percent in calories burned whereas the regular diet group didn’t experience a big change in metabolism. Likewise, the plant-based group shed about 14lbs in body weight (on average) while the regular diet group remained essentially the same.

Other changes were noted in the plant-based diet group linked to the low-fat nature of the diet, including decreases in cholesterol levels, that reduced their odds of developing heart disease, diabetes, and similar issues.

The study’s author Hana Kahleova, MD, Ph.D., said:

These findings are groundbreaking 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.


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