Each month I have the good fortune of being on the LIVE 88.5 morning Startup as their health and nutrition expert. I do my best to bring the plant based message to the listenership. This morning’s topic was “The Best Diet For Weight Loss”.
With low carb, paleo and ketogenic diets being all the rage, I expect this will be a hot button topic for many. I expect to field a few emails and social media questions over the next few days.
From experience, I find that it is always best to share the weight of the scientific evidence with the public with diplomacy. That’s the PlantKind way!
I hope to have the audio of the show posted by tomorrow. Below are my show notes:
What kind of diet would you suggest for someone who wants to lose a few pounds?
I’m not a big fan of calorie restrictive diets. They often lead to feelings of deprivation and binging. What’s more, if you aren’t eating enough calories, you are going to have trouble having energy and motivation. Its also difficult to get the nutrition you require from restrictive diets.
On the other hand, a plant based diet has been shown to lead to significant weight loss even without calorie restriction, portion control, or exercise.
A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that overweight women between the ages of 44-75 lost 13 pounds in 14 weeks on average on a plant based diet.
This is similar to the weight loss seen on low calorie diets, but the women could eat as much as they cared for!
What’s more, is that the participants reported that the diet was easy to follow, because they did not have to feel hungry, or guilty for eating.
What makes a plant based diet effective for weight loss?
A diet based on whole grains, vegetables, beans and fruit is filling while naturally being lower in calories.
On the other hand, animal products as well as fats and oils are high in fat.
Fat has 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram of carbs. High fat diets, therefore, have more calories for less total volume of food. This makes it easy to overeat on a high fat diet.
Plant based, whole food diets are very high in fibre as well, which makes you feel full. For every 14 grams of fibre a person eats, they generally eat 10% fewer calories. Therefore, the more fiber, the greater the weight loss.
Finally, plant based foods increase after meal calorie burn due to an improvement in insulin sensitivity. A low fat plant based diet leads to much better blood sugar levels, whereas a high fat diet gums up insulin receptors, leading to fat storage, and potentially type II diabetes.
Do I have to be 100% plant based to get results?
Not necessarily, but the more plant based the better.
A University of Southern California study shows that those eating a 100% plant based diet lost 16.5 more pounds than any other diet, including those that included only fish.
The EPIC-Panacea study, which analyzed the dietary patterns of tens of thousands of men and women over 5 years found that total meat consumption is associated with weight gain, even when adjusting for calories!
So if you take two people, with the same caloric needs and feed them the same amount of calories but fed them different things, the one with less meat in their diet will be a healthier body weight!
The researchers found that for every 250g of meat a person eats a day, they will gain about 1 additional pound per year, of about 5 pounds over 5 years!
Counter-intuitively, the meat most associated with weight gain was poultry!
So how do I start?
Try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans into your diet. Leave out some of the meat and dairy where possible. It doesn’t have to be overnight. Learn over time, and your weight and health will improve in proportion to the amount of plants you eat?
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