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A plant-based diet can boost the body’s metabolism and help lose fat, according to a new study from the peer-reviewed medical journal, JAMA Network Open.

The clinical trial assessed over 3,000 participants with a BMI of between 28 and 40 as they switched to a low-fat vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes over four months.

Respondents were told to leave their exercise routines unchanged whilst they took part.

‘After-meal burn’

The “after-meal burn” is what’s behind the weight loss from vegan diets, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) whose researchers conducted the trial.

Researchers found both insulin resistance and body fat reduced after the respondents’ diet changes and moreover, the kind of fat that was lost was the visceral fat which is stored around the internal organs.

Findings showed an average weight loss of 14 pounds and a reduction in the fat found in muscle cells.

‘Groundbreaking’

Director of Clinical Research for the PCRM, and study author Dr. Hana Kahleova, said: “These findings are groundbreaking for the 160 million Americans struggling with overweight and obesity.

“Over the course of years and decades, burning more calories after every meal can make a significant difference in weight management.”

Reduced health problems

The study further concluded that respondents reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, amongst other health problems.

It is not alone in highlighting the health benefits of adopting a diet free from animal products, as experts claim strokes and heart attacks are also reduced by going vegan.

One of the Americans who took part stuck to the diet once the trial ended, and has gone on to run multiple marathons, the PCRM claim.

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Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.