Improve your gut health

| Post published on August 4, 2021
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Plants foods are best for your microbiome

Our guts are inhabited by trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the microbiome. An imbalance in your microbiome can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems. This study examined the effects of a low-fat, vegan diet in 168 overweight adults over 16 weeks. Half the group were given a vegan diet and the other half continued eating their regular diet, which included animal products. The vegan group lost, on average, 6.4 kilograms (a stone) of weight compared to just 0.5 kilograms in the control group and their insulin sensitivity increased significantly.

This wasn’t just the result of a lower calorie intake; the vegan diet induced significant changes in people’s gut microbiota. High-fibre diets increase the production of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, which have a positive effect on weight regulation and cardiometabolic health. The positive effects of a vegan diet on the microbiome may be one of the reasons why vegans have a lower risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Kahleova H, Rembert E, Alwarith J et al. 2020. Effects of a low-fat vegan diet on gut microbiota in overweight individuals and relationships with body weight, body composition, and insulin sensitivity. A randomized clinical trial. Nutrients. 12 (10) 2917.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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