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 is a 10-day live-in program which is regularly organized 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.


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

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!


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 1 medication for diabetes, hypertension and/or high cholesterol

  • 71.6% reported as being overweight

After 7 days:

  • The average weight loss was 3 pounds (1.4kg)

  • The average decrease in cholesterol was 22 mg/dL

  • The average systolic blood pressure drop was 18 mm Hg

  • The average glucose level dropped by 3 mg/dL

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 biggest 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 organised regularly. Click here for more information and to book your spot!

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