As someone who has faithfully followed a vegan diet for more than six years, I'm not exactly the most unbiased person to boast the benefits of going meat-free. But I do have science on my side: In fact, new research detailing the impact of a vegetarian eating plan on weight loss and metabolism was released just this week.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a plant-based diet is shown to effectively aid with reducing muscle fat and giving the metabolism a boost. To be clear, researchers specifically monitored participants with type 2 diabetes over the course of six months to see how a meat-free eating plan would specifically impact their symptoms. But their findings were extremely telling and applicable to anyone seeking to optimize their metabolism and overall well-being: After the trial period was up, those who followed the plant-based diet had lost the most weight and muscle fat, and improved their overall glucose metabolism. (Muscle fat is directly correlated with insulin resistance, which is why reducing it makes such a difference for those with diabetes.)
Even more interesting, the researchers concluded that the plant-based diet was more effective than a diabetes-specific eating plan.
So how can anyone get in on this eating plan? The scientists behind the study recommend cutting out meat products entirely for the most impact, though we'll go ahead and say to just do what works for you, even if that means just going veggie for one meal a day. Beyond that, the researchers recommend adopting wholesome, plant-based foods like hummus, lentils, leafy vegetables, tofu, and almonds. Get more healthy vegetarian meal ideas here—and to give your daily eats an additional boost, shop our go-to supplements below.