Low-Carb Vegan Diets May Reduce Body Weight, Improve Glycemic Control and Blood Pressure

Low-carbohydrate vegan and vegetarian diets “reduced body weight, improved glycemic control and blood pressure” in a new study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study also found plant-based diets “had greater potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Titled Low-carbohydrate vegan diets in diabetes for weight loss and sustainability: a randomized controlled trial, the study was conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the Université Laval,  the University of Windsor and the University of Saskatchewan.

“Low-carbohydrate, high animal fat and protein diets have been promoted for weight loss and diabetes treatment”, begins the study’s abstract. “We therefore tested the effect of a low-carbohydrate vegan diet in diabetes as a potentially healthier and more ecologically sustainable low-carbohydrate option.”

For the study 164 male and female participants with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to advice on either a low-carbohydrate vegan diet, high in canola oil and plant proteins, or a vegetarian therapeutic diet, for three months, with both diets recommended at 60% of calorie requirements. Body weight, fasting blood, blood pressure, and 7-d food records, to estimate potential greenhouse gas emissions, were obtained throughout the study with tests of cholesterol absorption undertaken at baseline and end of study on 50 participants.

The study found that “Both low-carbohydrate vegan and vegetarian diets similarly but markedly reduced body weight (−5.9 kg; 95% CI: −6.5, −5.28 kg; and −5.23 kg; 95% CI: −5.84, −4.62 kg), glycated hemoglobin (−0.99%; 95% CI: −1.07, −0.9%; and −0.88%; 95% CI: −0.97, −0.8%), systolic blood pressure (−4 mmHg; 95% CI: −7, −2 mmHg; and −6 mmHg; 95% CI: −8, −3 mmHg), and potential greenhouse gas emissions, but only for potential greenhouse gas emissions was there a significant treatment difference of −0.63 kgCO2/d (95% CI: −0.99, −0.27 kgCO2/d) favoring the low-carbohydrate vegan diet.”

With this findings researchers conclude that “Low-carbohydrate vegan and vegetarian diets reduced body weight, improved glycemic control and blood pressure, but the more plant-based diet had greater potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

More information on this study can be found by clicking here.