Dietitian: CK Yao Diet: Whole food plant based – WFPB
The 3 week experience I’ve had on the WFPB diet has surprised me. I was surprised that it took three whole weeks for my body to adapt to the diet but I was feeling great on the last week of the diet. One of the only downsides to the diet is that I found the protein portion of my meals not super exciting (except for tofu of course!). I was a little disappointed there was no change in my weight (but perhaps not unexpected given how frequently I was eating to curb hunger) but I was certainly starting to feel more vibrant and energised.
Week 1 was horrible in terms of gut symptoms, I was grumpy and was experiencing side effects of lots of large bowel fermentation! Week 2 was much improved as I had to learn and adapt the diet to be moderate in FODMAPs at the same time. Then I had the best week of my life on the last week. I was sure my gut was thanking me for nourishing it with all the plant fibre and it was the best it has been.
I did not observe any changes in my weight, percentage body fat mass or lean mass.
My total energy / kilojoule intake remained unchanged but there were massive changes in my macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) distribution on the WPFB diet
- protein intake dropped by 56%
- Carbohydrate intake increased by 60%. Fibre increased by almost two-fold! I was exceeding far and beyond recommended fibre intake.
- Total fat and saturated fat went up by 26%
The best part was my biochemical markers continued to reap benefits even though they were within normal limits before I started the diet.
Total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) were all lowered by 20% and 30% respectively. Interestingly, my HDL (good cholesterol) levels rose slightly (by 0.2 mmol/L) and so did my fasting glucose levels by 0.6 mmol/L and insulin – 67%. No changes in my liver function tests were noted.
The proportion of my gut bacteria being dominated by Firmicutes (the carbohydrate metabolising bacteria) went up significantly (by 1.1 x). This also meant that my microbiome was less diverse on the WFPB diet.
On the whole, I have enjoyed my last week of the WFPB diet and have seen the positive benefits of a plant-based diet on my vitality, gut health and lipid levels. I am actually considering keeping parts of the diet that I’ve enjoyed – especially those yummy soy lattes or rice/soy milk. I also can’t believe how much animal protein I am able to consume!