Purpose: This study aimed to assess the acceptability of a low-fat vegan diet, as compared with a more typical fat-modified diet, among overweight and obese adults.
Methods: Through newspaper advertisements, 64 overweight, postmenopausal women were recruited, 59 of whom completed the study. The participants were assigned randomly to a low-fat vegan diet or, for comparison, to a National Cholesterol Education Program Step II (NCEP) diet. At baseline and 14 weeks later, dietary intake, dietary restraint, disinhibition, and hunger, as well as the acceptability and perceived benefits and adverse effects of each diet were assessed.
Results: Dietary restraint increased in the NCEP group (P <.001), indicating a greater subjective sense of constraint with regard to diet requirements, but was unchanged in the vegan group. Disinhibition and hunger scores fell in each group (P <.001 and P <.01, respectively). The acceptability of both diets was high, although the vegan group participants rated their diet as less easy to prepare than their usual diets (P <.05) and the NCEP participants foresaw continuation of their assigned diet to be more difficult than continuation of their baseline diets (P <.05). There were no between-group differences on any acceptability measures.
Conclusions: The acceptability of a low-fat vegan diet is high and not demonstrably different from that of a more moderate low-fat diet among well-educated, postmenopausal women in a research environment.