Dig Deeper

New Study Reveals How Following A Short-Term Plant-Based Diet Improves People’s Health

Your diet and health are intrinsically linked. At Shed, we take a plant-first approach to the food and snacks we offer. Put simply, we believe that plants are the foundation of a healthy diet. And we’re not alone—there’s a whole load of research that says the same thing.

The latest study in the area sheds light on how changing your daily eating habits could impact your overall health. New research published in Diabetologia suggests that following a plant-based diet for a short-term period could lead to a range of benefits.

As part of the study, participants followed a low-fat vegan diet for a 16 week period. During the study, each person taking part had to follow strict guidelines and avoid consuming animal-based products. At the end of that timeframe, the researchers checked the health of each participant to see what—if any—changes could be observed. 

The results suggested that those following a plant-based diet plan lost significant amounts of weight, improved insulin sensitivity, and fat mass. The researchers believe that the reason for these changes is linked to gut microbiota and the role it plays in your health.

“A 16-week low-fat vegan dietary intervention induced changes in gut microbiota that were related to changes in weight, body composition and insulin sensitivity in overweight adults,” said the authors of the study.

“A plant-based diet has been shown to be effective in weight management, and diabetes prevention and treatment. This study has explored the link between changes in the gut microbiome, and changes in body weight, body composition, and insulin sensitivity.” 

“We have demonstrated that a plant-based diet elicited changes in gut microbiome that were associated with weight loss, reduction in fat mass and visceral fat volume, and increase in insulin sensitivity.”

Plus, the researchers suggest that people should boost their fibre intake when following a plant-based diet plan. The reason is that healthy bacteria feeds on this and needs it to survive. If we want to see some genuine changes in our wellness, ensuring that we feast on plant-based fibre sources is certain to be the way forward. 

“The main shift in the gut microbiome composition was due to an increased relative content of short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria that feed on fibre. Therefore, high dietary fibre content seems to be essential for the changes observed in our study,” write the researchers.

Of course, the results of this study only show us a part of the picture. The researchers were keen to suggest future research plans. The team will be looking at a range of diet plans to determine which has the most positive effects. Watch this space. 

“We plan to compare the effects of a vegan and a standard portion-controlled diet on gut microbiome in people with type 2 diabetes, in order to separate out the positive effects of the reduced calories in the diet from those caused by the vegan composition of the diet.”

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