How healthy is a vegan diet? Researchers find a clear answer

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No dairy, no eggs, no meat: Copenhagen researchers have looked at how healthy a vegan diet is.

Copenhagen: The benefits of a vegan diet could become apparent just a few months after changing your diet. This is demonstrated by a recent study by the European Congress on Obesity. Therefore, in addition to the positive aspects for the environment and sustainability, a diet free of animal products could also improve blood sugar levels and help with weight loss.

Scientists at the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen analyzed data from eleven randomized studies on vegan nutrition. A total of 796 people with obesity or type 2 diabetes participated in them. Some of the subjects did without animal products for three or four months, some of the subjects changed their diet to Mediterranean food and a control group maintained their usual eating habits .

Pasta water should not be carelessly discarded after cooking: the starch it contains makes it a valuable help in the kitchen and at home. © Benjamin Nolte/dpa-tmn

Vegan diet: Low fat and high fiber fill you up faster

The vegans in the study showed slightly improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels after the experiments. In addition, they lost around four kilos on average, seven kilos more than the control group and almost seven kilos more than the rest of the test subjects.

The researchers suspect that the participants ate fewer calories on average, since vegan dishes typically contain less fat and more fiber in the same sized portions. As a result, vegans feel full faster despite lower calorie intake.

796 subjects from various studies
Some were vegan, some Mediterranean, some kept to their usual diet.
three to four months
Significant weight loss and better blood sugar levels in test vegans.

The improvement in blood sugar levels could also be related to the high proportion of fiber in the diet. In addition to the feeling of satiety, they also influence how quickly the body absorbs nutrients; for example, glucose from the breakdown of carbohydrates is processed more slowly.

Healthy vegan diet? Studies have long pointed to the health benefits.

Long ago, studies showed that animal-free diets not only make you happier, but are also beneficial to your health. However, the issue remains a subject of debate in public opinion. According to the Washington Post, a 1999 British analysis of four long-term studies published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that not eating animal products is good for your heart.

Data from more than 66,000 subjects indicated a lower mortality rate from what is known as ischemic heart disease: on average 34% for vegetarians and 26% for vegans compared to people who also eat meat. “We have long known that people who eat vegetarian diets have fewer risk factors and are less likely to develop heart disease,” Eva Obarzanek, a nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

In the area of ​​bone health, on the other hand, there are also results that point in the other direction. A study by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) examined 36 vegans and 36 omnivores with an ultrasound scan of the heel bone and an analysis of certain biomarkers in blood and urine. In fact, both results indicated poorer bone health on average. This is another reason why it is important to integrate all the nutrients in the diet of a vegan or vegetarian diet and, if necessary, supplement with B vitamins, for example. (tk)

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