3-month vegan diet could be key to fighting obesity: study

Do you have your own little dress to put on this summer?

Kim Kardashian may have claimed that a no-carb, no-sugar diet, intense workouts twice a day and regular shifts in the sauna helped her fast lose 16 pounds so she can sneak into an iconic vintage dress worn by Marilyn Monroe for Monday’s Met Gala. But a new study shows that simply going vegan for 12 weeks could help some achieve the same result.

Researchers in the Netherlands found that overweight people lost an average of 16 pounds after switching to a plant-based diet for three months.

They attribute the results to a diet that eliminates calorie-dense cheeses and red meat. This decision also considerably limits the possibilities of snacks and restaurants.

The findings, recently presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Maastricht in the Netherlands, are based on a review of 11 scientific trials to study vegan diets versus other diets, which involved 800 adults who were overweight or had Type 2 diabetes.

Kim Kardashian lost 16 pounds in a month before sneaking into an antique dress, worn by Marilyn Monroe, for the 2022 Met Gala on May 2.
Justin Lane/EPA

Those who switched from a typical Western diet to a vegan diet lost an average of 16 pounds. And, compared to those who followed another fad diet, vegans still came out on top, losing an average of 9 pounds.

However, blood sugar and cholesterol levels did not change significantly between diets, the researchers noted, with vegan diets performing only marginally better in these aspects.

“Vegan diets likely lead to weight loss because they are associated with reduced calorie intake due to lower fat and higher dietary fiber content,” said lead author Anne- Ditte Termmannsen from Copenhagen University Hospital. “However, more evidence is needed regarding other cardiometabolic outcomes.”

In the United States, nearly 74% of adults over the age of 20 are medically considered overweight or obese, according to at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Besides diabetes, people with too much fat are more likely to be diagnosed with several types of cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as musculoskeletal complications.

Nutrition experts urge patients to consult their doctor before revising their diet, as those who eat only plant-based foods may be at risk of developing nutrient deficiencies, like B12, which is primarily derived from ingredients of animal origin. Thus, supplementation may be advised.

Termmannsen said the work is the “best available evidence” to prove that a vegan diet could be a useful tool for the “management of overweight and type 2 diabetes.”