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Burn More Calories After Each Meal With This New Dieting Advice

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Plant-based dieting yields impressive health changes.

Looking for an easy way to burn more calories without having to exercise or increase your current activity level? And, reverse your metabolic syndrome risk factors at the same time! A new study found some surprising calorie-burning changes when participants in a study followed this new dieting advice for just 3 months.


Another Reason to Choose a Plant-Based Diet

A news release from the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine reports that just by changing your diet to a plant-based one, your body will go into an increased calorie burning mode—after meals—that is nearly 20 percent above your normal calorie burn.

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This news comes from a recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open where researchers discovered that one of the reasons why a plant-based diet results in weight loss is not due solely to a lowered caloric intake, but also because your body’s metabolism appears to change leading to more calories burned after a meal.

"These findings are groundbreaking for the 160 million Americans struggling with overweight and obesity," says study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. "Over the course of years and decades, burning more calories after every meal can make a significant difference in weight management."

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Study Directly Compares Diet Against Non-Diet Control Group

According to the news release: “The study randomly assigned participants—who were overweight and had no history of diabetes—to an intervention or control group in a 1:1 ratio. For 16 weeks, participants in the intervention group followed a low-fat, plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with no calorie limit. The control group made no diet changes. Neither group changed exercise or medication routines, unless directed by their personal doctors.”

The study conditions included a standardized meal provided just before and after the test period with all of the study participants as a comparison to see how a change in diet over 3 months might affect calorie burn between the diet and non-diet groups.

What the researchers observed was that while the non-diet group remained statistically unchanged, the plant-based diet group experienced:

An increased after-meal calorie burn by 18.7%, on average, after 16 weeks.
A weight loss of 6.4 kg (about 14 pounds), on average.
Reduced fat inside the liver and muscle cells by 34% and 10%, respectively.
Reduced total and LDL cholesterol by 19.3 mg/dL and 15.5 mg/dL, respectively.
A decrease in their fasting plasma insulin concentration by 21.6 pmol/L, a decrease in insulin resistance, and an increase in insulin sensitivity.

What Switching to a Plant-Based Diet Can Do For You

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While the esthetics of weight loss is a big reason why many dieters switch to a plant-based diet so as to look slimmer and fit back into that older clothing hanging unused in the closet, what is unseen is what happens inside the liver and muscle cells that is linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

"When fat builds up in liver and muscle cells, it interferes with insulin's ability to move glucose out from the bloodstream and into the cells," stated Dr. Kahleova. "After just 16 weeks on a low-fat, plant-based diet, study participants reduced the fat in their cells and lowered their chances for developing type 2 diabetes."

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"Not only did the plant-based group lose weight, but they experienced cardiometabolic improvements that will reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems," added Dr. Kahleova in the news release.

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The study results were so effective and convincing, the authors report that one participant found that switching to a plant-based diet has literally changed his life.

"I plan to stay on this diet for good. Not just for 16 weeks, but for life," reports study participant Sam T., who lost 34 pounds and improved his metabolism during the 16-week study. Since the study has concluded, Sam has continued a plant-based diet, reached his goal weight, and began running half-marathons and marathons.

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Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: Courtesy of Silviarita from Pixabay


Plant-based diet ramps up metabolism, according to new study” Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine news release 30 Nov. 2020.

Effect of a Low-Fat Vegan Diet on Body Weight, Insulin Sensitivity, Postprandial Metabolism, and Intramyocellular and Hepatocellular Lipid Levels in Overweight Adults” Hana Kahleova MD, PhD et al, JAMA Network Open. 2020; 3(11): e2025454.