People who eat a low-fat, plant-based diet had higher insulin and blood glucose levels. They had lower daily calories compared to the high-fat group in the small study. National Institute of Health reveals in a breakthrough study.
High-fat foods have a high-calorie intake due to their large number of calories per bite.
The researchers housed 20 people without diabetes in the NIH Clinical Center’s Metabolic Clinical Research Unit. Low-fat diets were high in carbohydrates. Low-carbohydrate diets were high in fats. Both diets had similar amounts of non-starchy veggies and were minimally processed. Participants were provided with three meals per day plus snacks and could eat as many as they wanted.
The main findings showed that low-fat people consumed 550 to 700 less calories per day than those on low-carb. Both diets resulted in weight loss, but the low-fat whole food plant-based diet was more effective.
“Despite eating a lot of high-glycemic carbohydrate foods that caused pronounced swings of blood glucose and insulin levels, people who ate the low-fat, plant-based diet saw a significant decrease in calories and loss in body fat. This challenges the notion that high-carb diets lead to people overeating.”
The result suggests that overeating and more than just a diet that is high in carbs or fat causes weight gain.
The low-fat, plant-based diet had 10.3% fat and 75.2% carbohydrates, while the low-carb, animal-based diet had 10% carbohydrate but 75.8% fat. Subjects were free to eat whatever they wanted from the meals provided.
Interestingly, the findings suggest that both plant-based diets offer significant health benefits, even in the short term.
Researchers note that the study wasn’t designed to offer diet advice for weight loss. Results could have been different if participants were trying to lose weight.
Griffin P. Rodgers M.D., Director of NIDDK, stated that “to help us obtain good nutrition, rigorous science it is crucial – especially now, given the COVID-19 epidemic, as we aim at identifying strategies to help our stay healthy.”
“This study helps us to answer long-standing questions about how our diet affects our health.”