It is very well known that diet impacts the ability for an individual to gain or lose weight. The math is pretty simple: consume more calories than one expels, weight gain ensues. Burn more calories than one takes in, weight loss ensues. What if it was possible to enhance the weight loss effect of burning more calories than consuming based upon a specific diet? This study aims to take a look at exactly that.
The study performed by the University of South Carolina took 63 participants ranging from ages 18-65 and body mass indexes of 25-49.9 and randomly placed them into 5 groups each with specific criteria of what they can and cannot eat. These 5 groups were:
- Vegan - No animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, etc. Only plant-based foods were allowed for consumption.
- Vegetarian - Same as vegan but dairy and egg products are allowed.
- Pesco-Vegetarian - No meat or poultry but fish and shellfish are allowed as well as dairy.
- Semi-Vegetarian - All foods can be eaten but red meat was limited to once instance per week.
- Omnivorous - All foods were acceptable for consumption.
It should be noted that in all groups, the participants were asked to consume foods low in fat and low in glycemic index. Participants were also asked to retain all grocery and restaurant receipts, take a supplement of vitamin B-12, and maintain their normal levels of physical activity as to not skew any results.
Mathematically, this study seems fairly silly and likely a waste of time. For weight loss, the math is simple: burn more calories than you take in and you will lose weight. Weight loss should not be dependent on what types of food are consumed (see the infamous Twinkie Diet). This of course does not take into account the full nutritional value of food. In any event, it should be interesting to see what results are drawn from this study.
At Chunk Fitness, we promote a healthy and balanced approach for diet and we do not endorse one plan over another. We will be keeping an eye on the conclusions drawn from this study.