Researchers at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC assigned 74 people with type 2 diabetes either vegetarian diets or conventional anti-diabetic diets to follow over the course of six months.
Both diet plans saw the subjects eat 500 kcals less per day than before the study started, but at the end of the trial, those on vegetarian diets had lost 13lbs on average, compared to 7lbs for the conventional diet.
Even more interestingly, the vegetarian dieters had changed their body composition.
While both both diets caused a similar reduction in subcutaneous fat (under the skin), vegetarian diets reduced intramuscular fat (inside muscle fibres) far more. They also reduced subfascial fat (under connective tissue) – something the conventional diet did not change at all.
This is important as increased subfascial fat in patients with type 2 diabetes has been associated with insulin resistance, so reducing it could have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism. In addition, reducing intramuscular fat could help improve muscular strength and mobility, particularly in older people with diabetes.
As losing intramuscular fat is known to improve metabolism, researches have concluded that vegetarian diets could be helpful to people with metabolic syndrome too.
But what vegetarian food you eat is also important. Dieters in the study got 60% of their energy from carbohydrates, 15% from protein, and 25% from fat.
They limited animal products to a maximum of one low-fat yoghurt a day, consuming mainly vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, and nuts instead.
So, step away from that high-fat cheese if you want to slim down.
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