By Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 23:01 BST, 16 September 2019 | Updated: 23:01 BST, 16 September 2019
Going on a vegan diet could help people lose almost a pound a week and slash their risk of diabetes, according to a study.
People who switched to a plant-based diet high in carbohydrates lost an average of 13lbs (5.8kg) in the space of just four months.
Scientists suggested changes to bacteria living in the gut could have been responsible for boosting the people's digestive health.
And they said the diet could make their bodies more able to absorb sugar from food, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Out of 148 people in a study, 73 of them had to switch to a low-fat vegan diet and they all lost weight, as well as improving their bodies' ability to absorb sugar from their bloodstream (stock image of vegan foods)
Scientists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC tested the effects of a vegan diet on a group of 148 people.
Some 73 of them had to abide by a meat- and dairy-free diet for 16 weeks and have tests to measure their weight, body fat, gut bacteria and insulin sensitivity.
The remaining 75 made no changes to their diets but had the same tests.
All the vegan participants lost weight during the study, shedding almost a stone on average, with the most weight lost 15.2lbs (6.9kg) and the least 10.3lbs (4.7kg).
Most of the weight loss was through fat burnt, and their insulin sensitivity 'increased significantly'.
Being more sensitive to insulin means the body is more efficient at absorbing sugar from food, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Experts commenting on the study said it was encouraging but thin on detail about what people actually ate and how it affected their bodies.
'It’s true that many of the foods in a balanced vegan diet are good for us, but that doesn’t mean that all vegan diets are healthy,' said Diabetes UK's Emma Elvin.
A study by Harvard University