Vegan meals may boost good gut hormones that 'help keep weight down'

New research has found evidence to suggest that a vegan diet could increase beneficial gut hormones.
New research has found evidence to suggest that a vegan diet could increase beneficial gut hormones.
Image: 123RF/sarsmis

A new small-scale study has found evidence to suggest that a vegan diet could help boost gut hormones that are responsible for regulating blood sugar, satiety, and weight, which the researchers say may have implications for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Carried out by researchers from the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Institute of Endocrinology, Czech Republic and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, USA, the new study looked at 60 male participants including 20 with obesity, 20 with type 2 diabetes, and 20 who were healthy.

The men were asked to eat a vegan meal with tofu and a non-vegan meal with meat and cheese which both contained the same number of kilojoules and the same ratio of macronutrients. 

After each meal the researchers measured each participants' gastrointestinal hormones using blood tests. 

The findings, published in the journal Nutrients, showed that all three groups of men showed an increase in beneficial gastrointestinal hormones involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism, insulin secretion, energy homeostasis, satiety, and weight management after eating the vegan meal, compared to after eating the non-vegan meal.

"These beneficial gut hormones can help keep weight down, enhance insulin secretion, regulate blood sugar, and keep us feeling full longer," explains study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD. "The fact that simple meal choices can increase the secretion of these healthy hormones has important implications for those with type 2 diabetes or weight problems."

In addition, all men reported increased satiety after the vegan meal, which is feeling full and satisfied after eating. The researchers suggest this could be due to vegan meals often being higher in fibre which adds bulk to the diet, helping to fill you up but without adding extra kilojoules.

They also noted that the the World Health Organization recently found that high-fibre diets may reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and even premature death.

"This study adds to the mounting evidence that plant-based diets can help manage and prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity," says Dr. Kahleova.

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