Vegans, vegetarians and anyone else who eats a primarily plant-based diet have heard it all before: how is that salad going to fill you up? Where’s the rest of your meal? Are you not starving?
Well now, they have the last laugh, as a study has found an animal-friendly diet is actually the best choice if you want to feel full after clearing your plate. Sorry, meat eaters.
The findings, published in the journal ‘Nutrients’, found a vegan diet also promotes beneficial gut hormones and helps regulate blood sugar and maintain a stable weight. Where’s the hitch?
The researchers looked at the hormone levels of a group of 60 men – 20 who were obese, 20 with type 2 diabetes and 20 who were healthy – and gave them all a vegan meal and a meal containing meat and cheese (on separate days). Both meals contained the same amount of calories and ratio of macronutrients.
Study participants across all three groups self-reported that the vegan meal left them feeling fuller, compared to the non-vegan meal.
The vegan meal also increased beneficial gastrointestinal hormones, compared with the non-vegan meal, across all three groups. “These beneficial gut hormones can help keep weight down, enhance insulin secretion, regulate blood sugar, and keep us feeling full longer,” said Dr Hana Kahleova, study author.
“The fact that simple meal choices can increase the secretion of these healthy hormones has important implications for those with type 2 diabetes or weight problems,” Dr Kahleova added.
This isn’t the only study to link a vegan diet with health benefits – a report from the World Health Organisation found high-fibre diets (fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses are all good sources of fibre) reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and even premature death.
Other studies have shown plant-based diets are beneficial for weight loss and reduce the risk of developing diabetes, compared with non-vegans.