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The Physicians Committee



NEWS RELEASE September 9, 2005

New Study Shows High-Carb, Vegan Diet Causes Major Weight Loss

Even with No Calorie-Cutting or Exercise, Diet Is More Effective than a Typical Low-Fat Diet

WASHINGTON—A low-fat, plant-based diet is more effective at helping women lose weight and improve insulin sensitivity than an omnivorous diet, shows a new study appearing in the September issue of The American Journal of Medicine. The study, involving 59 overweight, postmenopausal women, was conducted by Neal D. Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), together with colleagues at Georgetown University Hospital and George Washington University. Half of the study participants followed a vegan diet; the other half followed a control diet based on National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines.

“The study participants following the vegan diet enjoyed unlimited servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthful foods that enabled them to lose weight without feeling hungry,” says Dr. Barnard, the lead author. “As they began to experience the positive effects, weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity, the women in the intervention group became even more motivated to follow the plant-based eating plan.”

Scientific studies show that obesity and overweight are far less prevalent in populations following a plant-based diet. In a recent study of more than 55,000 Swedish women, Tufts University researcher P. Kirstin Newby and her colleagues found that 40 percent of meat-eaters were overweight or obese while only 25 to 29 percent of vegetarians and vegans were. Worldwide, vegetarian populations experience lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other life-threatening diseases. A new study appearing in September’s Journal of Urology shows that a low-fat, primarily vegan diet may slow the progression of prostate cancer.

The simplicity of a vegan diet appeals to people who are busy with work and family, and many familiar recipes are easy to adapt. At least four studies published in peer-reviewed journals show that patients give the low-fat vegetarian diet a high rating in terms of acceptability, and that the transition only takes about three weeks or less.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.



Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey
202-527-7316
jeannem@pcrm.org


Neal Barnard, M.D.

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