A recent study confirmed that The Wellness Forum’s Accelerated Weight Loss Program is more effective than a traditional calorie-reduction diet advocated by most health organizations.
The study, conducted by Dr. Neal Barnard and other researchers, is published in the September 2005 issue of the American Journal of Medicine (vol. 118; no 9; 991-97). Dr. Barnard is on the faculty of Georgetown University and is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Participants in the study were 63 postmenopausal women who were overweight or obese, with a BMI of between 25 and 44. They were assigned to two groups. During a 14-week period, one group followed a low-fat, vegan diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes. The diet was 10% fat, 15% protein and 75% carbohydrate.
The other group followed a diet advocated by the National Cholesterol Education Program, with 30% fat, 15% protein and 55% carbohydrate. Cholesterol intake was less than 200 mg per day, and the women continued to eat animal foods.
No limits were placed on either group for calorie intake, and the women maintained their usual level of exercise.
The researchers found that those on the vegan diet reduced their calorie intake more than those on the control diet, but the difference was not significant. The difference in fat, protein and cholesterol was substantially reduced in the vegan group, and fiber and carbohydrate consumption was substantially increased.
Those on the vegan diet lost an average of 5.8 kg (12.76 pounds) as compared to the controls, who lost only 3.8 kg (8.36 pounds). BMI and waist measurement were reduced significantly more in the vegan group as well. The researchers reported that the weight loss for the vegan group was the same as would be expected from a diet that was based on significant calorie reduction.
This is not surprising. Fill your stomach with chicken and cheese and it takes over 3000 calories to do so. Fill it with beans, rice and salad and it only takes 400 calories. Using portion control while consuming a traditional American diet to lose weight means consuming fewer calories than are necessary to fill the stomach and trying to use will power to be hungry and avoid eating.
People who consume a vegan diet for weight loss, on the other hand, can eat as much as they want – the fiber content of the food will cause you to explode before you can eat too many calories.
In addition to losing weight, a vegan diet will improve the health of those who consume it – cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk and the risk of cancer are all lower in people who consume a plant-based diet.
As for the argument that people will not do this, the body of evidence is that they will if shown how, as well as given reasons why they should do so. The American public should be tired of health care professionals assuming that everyone is too lazy and undisciplined to make the changes necessary to achieve optimal health, and using that assumption as a reason for not giving people accurate, science-based information.