Plant-based diet, protein and weight loss

Healthy Eating Season

Tomorrow is one of our favorite holidays, largely unencumbered by commercial influence (until recently) and focused on family, friends and, of course, food! But this holiday also marks the start of an eating season where many of us throw caution to the wind, eat without restriction, and then inevitably feel guilty about gaining weight.

Here’s an interesting bit of research, yet again, that finds that plant-based diets, without counting calories, leads to greater weight loss. This brings up an interesting idea – it may be easier to just cut certain foods out of your diet than to include them but try to practice moderation. There are many elements of addiction science in this discussion, particularly with fat and sugar.

In related research, T. Colin Campbell’s lab found over 20 years ago that rats consuming higher protein diets had higher ‘food efficiency’, meaning for every calorie of food they ate they gained more weight. The high-protein rats ate fewer calories but gained just as much weight. Researchers found some interesting possible mechanisms to explain this finding, primarily that the higher protein animals burned less energy in a process called thermogenesis.

This suggests that protein may be more satiating, meaning you eat less to feel full, but it also may be more efficient at increasing body weight. In combining these two research findings perhaps we can suggest that cutting down on the animal foods, added fats and sugars, even cutting them out, leads to improved weight without counting calories due to lower ‘food efficiency’, among other things. Stay tuned for our January newsletter for more on weight loss.

With that in mind, happy Thanksgiving and let the HEALTHY eating season begin!

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