Health Benefits of Low-Carb Vegan Diet Are Same as Vegetarian Diet: Study

Vegan lunch table. Chocolate smoothie bowl, Buddha bowl with tofu, chickpeas and quinoa, lentil soup and toasts on a gray background.If you’re unsure of what type of diet may be best for you, a new study may be of interest. Researchers have found that the health benefits of a low-carb vegan diet are the same as a vegetarian diet.

So, if you’re looking for an animal-free way to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, going low-carb vegan and vegetarian are both excellent choices. Keep in mind that it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough protein and other essential nutrients on a vegetarian or low-carb vegan diet, so talk to your doctor or nutritionist about how to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

The study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested an important difference between the two diets. It was found that a low-carbohydrate vegan diet had a significantly lower potential carbon emission value than its high-carbohydrate vegetarian counterpart. It was also found that the lower the potential carbon emission value of the diet, the more significant the reduction in blood cholesterol.

Food Facts

For the study, researchers analyzed people who were on two different types of plant-based diets. The first one was a low-carbohydrate vegan diet with no meat, dairy or eggs, supplemented with canola-oil enriched bread and high-protein vegan meat alternatives.

The second diet was a vegetarian version of the DASH diet (a standard clinical diet for lowering blood pressure) which included egg whites and low-fat dairy but no meat.

The researchers used this information to compare the health benefits as well as the carbon emission potential of each diet. Greenhouse gas emission databases were used to obtain mean values for each food.

At the end of the three months, researchers found that the two diets were similar in their effects on weight loss and seemed to reduce blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Overall, participants on the vegan diet lost 5.9 kilos, and those on the vegetarian diet lost 5.2 kilos. Both groups also saw a reduction in hemoglobin A1c, a marker of glycemic control.

“We showed that you actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a diet that is effective, and that the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is related to the fall in LDL cholesterol—often called the ‘bad’ cholesterol,” said lead author Dr. David Jenkins. “So, as you reduce the impact of your diet on the environment, you also benefit by lowering your cholesterol.”

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Health Benefits of Low-Carb Vegan Diet Are Same as Vegetarian Diet: Study