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A pair of identical twins who trialed vegan and meat-based diets – revealing some interesting results – discussed their experiment in a recent episode of PCRM’s podcast.
Ross and Hugo Turner – aka ‘the adventure guinea pigs’ – made headlines earlier this Summer after trialing the diets over 12 weeks between January and March this year. Ross Turner followed the meaty diet, with Hugo going plant-based throughout.
The twins consumed a very similar number of calories, both eating meals prepared by food delivery service Mindful Chef, and both did five or six sessions of endurance training each week, where they lifted the same weights, for the same number of reps.
Researchers from King’s College monitored the twins, tracking metrics like muscle mass and weight, as well as cholesterol throughout the experiment.
According to Men’s Health, following the experiment, Ross’ cholesterol stayed the same at 6.5 (which he described as ‘quite high’) and Hugo’s (vegan diet) went down to 4.9. When it comes to body composition, Hugo lost 1kg of fat and gained 1.2kg of muscle mass, while Ross gained 2.8kg of fat and 4kg of muscle mass.
The Turners appeared on the Physician’s Committee’s podcast The Exam Room to share more about the experiment, discussing it with host Chuck Carroll, revealing that they tossed a coin to decide who would try what diet.
According to Ross Turner, he was disappointed not to be the twin testing out a plant-based diet. He explained: “I was a little gutted that I didn’t get the vegan [diet] because you watch all these documentaries on Netflix, in particular, The Game Changers…and so I really wanted to feel the effects of what truly going vegan is – I’ve never done a truly vegan diet.”
Hugo Turner said his immediate thought was that he would drop a lot of weight, as he believed ‘vegans can’t get all the calories as they need because they are not eating meat and dairy’. He added that he thought his energy levels would be low and his motivation to work out would be low too – however this was not the case.
The twins went straight from what they described as indulgent diets over the Christmas diet period, with lots of drinking, into their new plans. Hugo described this abrupt transition as ‘very difficult’ for the first two weeks.
“But after those two weeks went past and suddenly your body realizes what’s happening and it’s adjusting, then I suddenly had a load more energy and a hell of a lot more energy all throughout the days.
“So on my usual diet, I would feel tired in the afternoon – maybe that’s my snacking style – but I definitely feel tired and you get a lot more peaks and troughs. But on the vegan diet, my energy levels leveled off and, I’d have a lot more energy going to the gym. I felt a lot more motivated for that…it was really impressive the amount of energy you can get just from plants.”