Plant-Based Diet as a Strategy for Weight Control

Foods. 2021 Dec 8;10(12):3052. doi: 10.3390/foods10123052.


According to the World Health Organization, obesity has nearly tripled since the 1970s. Obesity and overweight are major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, inflammatory-mediated diseases, and other serious medical conditions. Moreover, recent data suggest that obesity, overweight, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are risk factors for COVID-19-related mortality. Different strategies for weight control have been introduced over the last two decades. Unfortunately, these strategies have shown little effect. At the same time, many studies show that plants might be the key to a successful strategy for weight control. Following the PRISMA guidelines for conducting systematic reviews, a search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Embase using the following keywords: obesity, globesity, vegan, plant-based diet, etc. Our results show that vegan diets are associated with improved gut microbiota symbiosis, increased insulin sensitivity, activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, and over-expression of mitochondrial uncoupling proteins. The key features of this diet are reduced calorie density and reduced cholesterol intake. The combination of these two factors is the essence of the efficiency of this approach to weight control. Our data suggest that plant-based/vegan diets might play a significant role in future strategies for reducing body weight.

Keywords: globesity; obesity; obesity management; plant-based diet; vegan; vegetarian; weight control; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Review