Vegan diet outperforms Mediterranean diet for weight loss and heart health, study finds

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A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that a low-fat vegan diet is more effective than a Mediterranean diet for weight loss, body composition, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels.

At that of Dr. Hana Kahleova and Neal Barnard, the study was a randomized, crossover study in participants who were overweight but had no history of diabetes.


Participants were assigned to either a vegan or Mediterranean diet group for 16 weeks, with no calorie restrictions. The vegan group avoided animal products and consumed fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes.

The Mediterranean group followed the PREDIMED protocol, which focuses on fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy and extra virgin olive oil.

After a four-week washout period, during which participants returned to their base diet, the groups then switched diets for an additional 16 weeks.

Key Findings

weight loss: Participants lost an average of 6 kg (about 13 pounds) on the vegan diet, while there was no significant change on the Mediterranean diet.

body composition: The vegan diet resulted in a loss of 3.4 kg (about 7.5 pounds) more fat mass than the Mediterranean diet.

visceral fat: A greater 315cc reduction in visceral fat was observed on the vegan diet.

cholesterol levels: The vegan diet reduced total and LDL cholesterol by 18.7 mg/dL and 15.3 mg/dL, respectively. The Mediterranean diet showed no significant changes in cholesterol levels.

blood pressure: Both diets resulted in a reduction in blood pressure, but the reduction was more pronounced in the Mediterranean diet (6.0 mmHg compared to 3.2 mmHg in the vegan diet).

The authors hypothesize that the vegan diet was likely effective due to a reduction in calorie intake, an increase in fiber, and a reduction in fat and saturated fat consumption.

Neal Barnard, one of the study’s authors, criticized the Mediterranean diet for its inclusion of fatty fish, dairy and oils, saying it had “slumped” in terms of weight loss effectiveness.


This study makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the most effective diets for weight loss and health improvement.

dr Kahleova recommends a plant-based diet as a viable option for anyone looking to lose weight or improve their health in the New Year.

“In a randomized controlled trial, the Mediterranean diet caused no weight loss at all.

The problem seems to lie in the intake of oily fish, dairy products and oils. In contrast, a low-fat vegan diet resulted in significant and sustained weight loss,” said Dr. Neal Barnard.

If weight is important to you, please read studies showing that normal eating habits can lead to excess weight gain and that this exercise has unique weight loss benefits.

For more information on weight, check out recent studies on the best cheeses for diabetes relief and weight loss, and the results showing how to drink water to lose weight.

The research results can be found in Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

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Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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