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McDougall Program: The Effect Of A Vegan Low-Fat Diet After 7 Days

Diabetes Type 2, Food, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure and Hypertension, Obesity, Research

What are the effects of a vegan low-fat diet on 1615 people? Remarkable, to say the least. Weight loss, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure are just some of the benefits.

The McDougall Program

The McDougall Program is a 10-day live-in program in the USA. Dr McDougall is the architect of the program, which has been running since 2002.

From the beginning, the results of the program were remarkable. In 2014 the results of 1615 participants who had been part of the vegan low-fat diet program between 2002-2011 were gathered and published in the Nutrition Journal.

Before going deeper into the effects, let’s take a brief look at what the vegan low-fat diet entails.

 What is the Vegan Low-Fat Diet?

The vegan low-fat diet is not the most accurate term to describe the program’s diet. Dr McDougall prefers to call it the starch-based diet. It’s a whole food plant based, oil-free way of eating with an emphasis on starchy foods like potatoes, rice, and wheat. Click the button below for a full overview of the diet. 

From the beginning, the results of the program were remarkable. In 2014 the results of 1615 participants who had been part of the vegan low-fat diet program between 2002-2011 were gathered and published in the Nutrition Journal.

Before going deeper into the effects, let’s take a brief look at what the vegan low-fat diet entails. While the it is plant-based way of eating, Dr McDougall prefers to call it a starch-based diet.

The Starch Based diet

Starches

Grains

Barley, brown rice, bulgur wheat, corn, farro, millet, oats, rye, spelt, triticale, and wheat berries. With these grains, you can make and the following foods: Bread, tortilla, flatbread, pasta, couscous, and whole cereal grains are examples of products made of these grains.

Legumes

Dried beans (adzuki, cranberry, black, cannellini, fava, chickpeas, great northern, kidney, lima, mung, navy, pinto, soy, white beans)

Peas (black-eyed peas, split peas, whole yellow peas, green peas)

Lentils (green, red, brown)

Starch vegetables

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut, acorn, buttercup, Hubbard, kabocha cassava, burdock, taro, yams.

Nonstarchy foods

Green, yellow, orange and multicolored vegetables

All fruits

Foods to avoid

Meat (ie, beef, pork, lamb)

Poultry (ie, chicken, turkey, duck)

Fish and shellfish

Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream)

Eggs

Animal fats (ie lard and butter)

Vegetable or plant oils (including olive, corn, flaxseed, canola, and safflower)

Processed and packaged foods, except for the ones containing only permitted ingredients

Some plant foods may slow progress for those people who want to lose weight, or for those who have a chronic disease.

Dr McDougall recommends those people to avoid these foods. Otherwise, small quantities of these foods can be added to the starch-based diet:

Avocados

Dried fruits

Flours (whole grain, white, all-purpose)

Fruit and vegetable juices

Nuts

Peanuts and peanut butter

Seeds

Simple sugars (i.e., table sugar, maple syrup, molasses, agave)

Remember that most participants are accustomed to the Western diet rich in animal foods and processed foods. Switching to the low-fat vegan diet showed some remarkable results within just a few days!

Results

At the moment of entering the program:

  • 84.3% of the participants reported a history of disease

  • 64% reported a history of high cholesterol

  • 39.6% reported a history of hypertension

  • 79.5% reported using at least one medication for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol

  • 71.6% reported as being overweight

After 7 days, the average:

  • weight loss was 3 pounds (1.4kg)

  • decrease in cholesterol was 22 mg/dL

  • systolic blood pressure drop was 18 mm Hg

  • glucose level dropped by 3 mg/dL

 

dr mcdougall whole food plant based diet for weight loss

Of those who were using medication at the beginning of the program:

  • 90.7% of patients on diabetes medications reduced their dosage or could stop using their medication altogether

  • 86.5% of patients on blood pressure medication reduced their dosage or could stop using their medication altogether

The research paper concludes that the low-fat, high-fiber, high-carbohydrate, vegan diet allowed participants to eat enough food to feel full and still lose weight! The patients who had the most overweight, the highest cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels showed the most significant improvements. What made it even more remarkable was that most patients could reduce or even stop their medication.

The paper also notes that the results show a lot of promise and could encourage physicians to prescribe diet therapy before medication and surgery, which would also cut healthcare costs.

The McDougall 10-day program is still organized regularly. Visit Dr McDougall’s website for more information and to book your spot!

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