Plant-based diets have grown in popularity over the last few years. Books like “Forks over Knives” and documentaries like “The Game Changers” have inspired people to give plant-based diets a second look. If you still need a little incentive how about this: Plant-based diets boost after-meal calorie burn and lead to serious weight loss.
Advocates highlight benefits like more energy, less brain fog, and a return to healthy cholesterol levels. In some cases, some have said that switching to a plant-based diet saved their lives.
The science has slowly started catching up to what plant-based diet advocates have been saying for years. While researchers are still looking investigating the claims being made, new research has come out that has both plant-diet advocates and those struggling with weight loss jumping for joy.
Keep reading to see how you may be able to benefit from effortless weight loss by adopting a plant-based diet.
Getting a post-meal metabolism boost with a plant-based diet
Researchers writing in the Journal of American Medical Associate (JAMA) recently shared a study on the effects of a plant-based diet on participants who were overweight but with no history of diabetes.
They separated the participants into two groups: one group followed a low-fat, plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with no limit calorie limit. While the other group — the control group — made no changes to their diet. Both groups were asked not to make any changes to their exercise or medication routines for 16 weeks.
After 16 weeks, the researchers compared notes, and here’s what they found:
The group eating the plant-based diet lost an average of 14 pounds. They found that plant-based meals increased the metabolic rate, letting them burn an extra 18.7 percent in calories after finishing. The group also had big drops in overall fat and a significant drop in visceral fat levels (the fat sitting around the organs).
When compared to the control group, the researchers saw an “insignificant change” regarding weight loss. Keep in mind, both groups made no changes to either their exercise or medication routines, which makes this study even more shocking.
Ready to jump on board plant-based eating? Let’s go over three fat-busting plant-based foods to boost your metabolism and weight loss efforts…
The must-have “fat-burning” recipe to maintain your weight loss
As powerful as eating a plant-based diet is, eating certain foods can give you an even bigger weight loss advantage thanks to additional nutrients.
Here is a shortlist of foods that have been shown to help promote a fat-burning metabolism:
Dark Leafy Greens: Regardless of which ones: kale, collard greens, swiss chards, bok choy, arugula and many others, they’re all great sources of nutrients.
Calcium, a nutrient found in dark leafy greens was studied in the Journal of Nutrition and researchers found that it helped with weight reduction and improved insulin resistance.
Here are some simple ways to increase your leafy green intake:
- Add more leafy greens to your salads
- Mix in a soup (minestrone, as a tasty example)
- Bake them (kale chips are a crispy, fun snack)
- Make a smoothie
Beans and Legumes: Beans and Legumes are a must-have in a plant-based diet. They are a protein powerhouse, making them one of the highest sources in the plant-food kingdom.
Based on a number of studies, eating more protein is essential for keeping your metabolism high. Protein helps reduce appetite, promotes fullness and regulates several weight-related hormones.
Here are some ways of adding more beans into your diet:
- Pinto beans mixed in a salsa salad
- Make your own hummus with chickpeas
- Red beans, tomatoes and spices for a plant-based chili
- Refried beans to dip chips in at your next gathering
Oatmeal: While not as protein-heavy as beans or calcium-rich as dark leafy green vegetables, oatmeal has a special attribute that helps it stand out among the crowd: fiber.
And while beans, lentils and greens also have fiber, oatmeal has the special fiber beta-glucan. This special fiber compound, as well as the other nutrients found in oatmeal, has proven helpful at controlling blood sugar, lowering blood lipids and yes, losing weight.
Aside from the classic morning bowl of oatmeal, here’s some ways to enjoy oats:
- Blend in with your pancake mix
- Make homemade oat flour to replace white flour
- Use in place of granola for a cheaper, healthier snack
- Make oat milk with just oats, water and a blender
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Effect of a Low-Fat Vegan Diet on Body Weight, Insulin Sensitivity, Postprandial Metabolism, and Intramyocellular and Hepatocellular Lipid Levels in Overweight Adults – A Randomized Clinical Trial — JAMA Network Open
Plant-based diet increases post-meal metabolism, study says — Integrative Practitioner