Vegetarian Diet as an Intervention for Weight Loss and Management
Overweight and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. Observational studies have shown that people who practice a plant-based diet usually have lower body weight when compared to those with a regular or nonvegetarian diet. This suggests that a plant-based diet may help in weight reduction or weight management. The purpose of this review was to examine whether practicing a vegetarian diet led to weight loss, and if so, did it lead to more weight loss when compared to other dietary patterns? Tertiary data was collected from the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and PubMed. Several studies showed that a vegetarian diet led to weight loss. The average amount of weight loss from studies included in this paper was 3-4 kg on a 4 to 74 week period. Two studies noted that a vegetarian diet still leads to weight loss even with no caloric restriction or exercise. Therefore, prescribing a vegetarian diet along with exercise and caloric restriction may improve weight loss and long-term weight management outcomes. Further studies need to be conducted regarding whether vegetarian diets have a greater weight reduction when compared to other diets. Although several authors claimed that it does, the evidence could be stronger. In conclusion, vegetarian diets led to weight loss and should be considered as an effective weight loss diet.