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A plant-based diet can help with weight loss and potentially slashes the risk of diabetes, a new study says.  

The new research, which has caught the attention of major news outlets, was presented at this year’s Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona. It suggests that a 16-week vegan diet can boost gut bacteria linked to improvements in body weight, body composition, and blood sugar control.’

Scientists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in Washington DC tested the effects of a vegan diet on a group of 148 people, of which 73 switched to a low-fat vegan diet for four months.

The vegan group lost a significant amount of weight (an average of 13lb or 5.8kg) as well as improving insulin sensitivity – their bodies’ ability to absorb sugar from their bloodstream. Being more sensitive to insulin reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Gut bacteria play an important role in weight regulation and in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The authors suggest that changes to gut bacteria could have been responsible for the beneficial effects seen.

The article goes on to debate whether or not the change in gut bacteria was responsible for weight loss or not.

Whatever the precise mechanism, this adds to a large body of evidence showing how a vegan diet can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Find out how a vegan diet can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight here.

This article was originally published on Viva! Health

Dr. Justine Butler of Viva!

Dr. Butler graduated from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology and a BSc First Class (hons) in Biochemistry from UWE before joining Viva! in 2005. She currently researches, writes and campaigns for Viva!Health.