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Weight loss a little easier with vegetable juice

Weight loss on a calorie-restricted diet goes a tiny bit faster if you drink 1-2 glasses of vegetable juice each day. This is the conclusion that nutritionists at the University of California draw in Nutrition Journal from a trial that involved 81 overweight men and women. The subjects all had diabetes-2.

Weight loss a little easier with vegetable juice
The researchers put the test subjects, who all weighed around 100 kg, on a diet of 1600-1800 kcal per day. The researchers used the DASH diet: little red meat, sugar and candy, and relatively large amounts of proteins, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fibre. DASH dieters eat lots of whole grains, chicken, fish, turkey, vegetables and fruit. A few weeks before the experiment started the researchers put their subjects on a diet with low levels of polyphenols and carotenes.

The experiment lasted 12 weeks. In this period a control group received no extra nutrients. One experimental group drank a daily 225 g V8; a vitamin-enriched vegetable juice manufactured by the soup maker Campbell. A second experimental group drank 2 glasses a day.

Should you be wondering what Campbell's role was in this research: Campbell paid for the food. But of course that doesn't mean that it's a dubious study! No, studies financed by industry are always fantastic quality.

The table below shows the amount of weight that the dieters had lost after 12 weeks.


1 glass

2 glasses

Weight loss

0.55 kg

2.25 kg

1.35 kg

The weight loss is negligible. The test subjects lost an average of 1.8 kg in 12 weeks. If you put people weighing around 100 kg on a diet of 1600-1800 kcal, that's an impossibly small amount, you'd think. You'd be inclined to suspect that the test subjects didn't stick to their diet. That after they'd finished their chicken and salad, they'd sneaked off to McDonalds for an order of fries and chocolate slurp.

Of course, we don't understand these matters. But the authors, real nutritionists who have studied long and hard, have a different opinion. "This positive, small-step change is thought to be successful", they write. And so it is! If a scientist says so, then so be it.

The subjects that drank vegetable juice as well did a bit better than the control group. As you can see, the group that drank one glass of V8 a day did better than the dieters who drank two glasses a day. That's because the dieters in that group went completely wrong. Half of them didn't even manage to drink the vegetable juice. Probably because they were already so full of milkshakes and cheeseburgers that they couldn't squeeze in even one little glass of juice. That's what we think: uneducated as we are.

Nutr J. 2010 Feb 23; 9:8.