Vegan Diet Proves Its Acceptability

Barnard ND, Scialli, Turner-McGrievy GM, Lanou AJ. Acceptability of a very-low-fat, vegan diet compares favorably to a more moderate low-fat diet in a randomized, controlled trial. J Cardiopulm Rehab 2004;24:229-35.


A new study shows that a major diet overhaul is easier than most people might have imagined. The study, funded by The Cancer Project of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, included 64 overweight, postmenopausal women who were randomly assigned to either a low-fat, vegan diet or a more conventional low-fat diet following the guidelines of the National Cholesterol Education Program. After 14 weeks, the vegan group lost significantly more weight (13 pounds, compared to 8 pounds for the low-fat group). The current report, however, focused on the diets' acceptability.


Using quantitative questionnaires, the researchers asked the participants how well they liked their new diets, how easy they were to prepare, how much effort they required, and other questions about the adaptation process.


Overall, both groups gave their assigned diets high marks. While some might imagine a vegan diet to be Spartan, it was reported to be "good," "moderately good," or "extremely good" by 93% of participants. The vegan participants did find that their meals required more preparation than did a totally unrestricted diet. The low-fat group reported increasing "dietary restraint," suggesting they were somewhat perturbed by the diet's requirements, but the vegan group reported no such change. Both groups had diminished hunger on their assigned diets, compared to their usual diets, and the vegans, in particular, reported weight loss and increased energy.


The researchers concluded that the acceptability of the low-fat, vegan diet was high, and not demonstrably different from that of a more moderate low-fat diet.


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