Improve your gut health

| 4 August 2021
minute reading time

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
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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