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Nutrients. 2019 Nov 8;11(11). pii: E2712. doi: 10.3390/nu11112712.

Plant-Based Diets in the Reduction of Body Fat: Physiological Effects and Biochemical Insights.

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Department of Nutrition, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA.


Obesity affects over one-third of Americans and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Interventional trials have consistently demonstrated that consumption of plant-based diets reduces body fat in overweight and obese subjects, even when controlling for energy intake. Nonetheless, the mechanisms underlying this effect have not been well-defined. This review discusses six major dietary mechanisms that may lead to reduced body fat. These include (1) reduced caloric density, (2) improved gut microbiota symbiosis, (3) increased insulin sensitivity, (4) reduced trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), (5) activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), and (6) over-expression of mitochondrial uncoupling proteins. Collectively, these factors improve satiety and increase energy expenditure leading to reduced body weight.


PPAR; TMAO; diet; microbiome; nutrition; obesity; vegan; vegetarian; weight loss

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