Weight loss from vegan diet influenced by gut microbiota
Adults who ate a vegan diet lost more weight and experienced improved insulin sensitivity compared with those who maintained regular dietary habits, and effects of the diet on the gut microbiota may have influenced these results, according to findings presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting.
“This study shows the missing link between gut microbiome and metabolic health and highlights the intimate relationship between the diet we eat and the metabolic outcomes,” Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., told Endocrine Today.
Kahleova and colleagues analyzed data from 147 adults without diabetes (mean age, 55.6 years; 86% women). Of the total cohort, 73 participants were randomly assigned to a 16-week low-fat vegan diet and compared with 74 participants who maintained their regular dietary habits. The researchers collected data on the makeup of the gut microbiota, body weight, fat mass, visceral fat and insulin sensitivity at baseline and at 16 weeks.
Those who consumed the vegan diet lost an average of 5.8 kg at 16 weeks (95% CI, –6.9 to –4.7). Fat mass fell by an average of 3.9 kg (95% CI, –4.6 to –3.1), and visceral fat fell by an average of 172 cm3 (95% CI, –308 to –37). In addition, there was an increase in insulin sensitivity as measured by PREDIM, according to the researchers.
Those who consumed the vegan diet also experienced a 4.8% increase in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (95% CI, 1.97-7.58) and a 19.5% increase in Bacteroides fragilis (95% CI, 14.7-24.3) compared with baseline, and both of these had a negative correlation with body weight, fat mass, visceral fat and a positive correlation with insulin sensitivity, according to the researchers.
“Eat more fiber from plants, because it provides the fuel for the short-chain producing bacteria in your gut,” Kahleova said. “The US population consumes only about a half of the recommended daily intake of fiber. Eating more plants can dramatically improve our gut microbiome and metabolic health.”– by Phil Neuffer
Kahleova H, et al. Abstract 700. Presented at: European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting; Sept. 16-20, 2019; Barcelona, Spain.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.