Trying a diet without adding fats or animal products can be a great way to start your weight loss efforts. In a study published in November 2020 in JAMA network openEating this way helped overweight and obese people lose an average of 5.9 pounds (about 13 pounds) over 16 weeks.

The study randomly assigned 244 overweight and obese individuals to start a low-fat vegan diet or to join a control group that made no dietary changes. People on the vegan diet attended weekly classes with demonstrations of cooking and nutritional support, and they were encouraged to consume vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes while avoiding the addition of fats and animal products.

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While participants in both groups consumed fewer calories during the 16-week trial than they did before the start of the experiment, people on the vegan diet managed to reduce an average of 355 calories per day more than people in the control group.