Is Vegan The Healthiest Diet?

A new study on twins offers evidence about maximizing weight loss and improving heart health. Here's what you need to know.

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Monday Motivation

  • The new vegan study making headlines

  • Workout of the week

Arnold’s Podcast

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Arnold’s Corner: Monday Motivation

Today, I want to talk about struggle. We all go through struggles and tragedies and challenges in life.

But when we are deep in those rough times, we somehow forget that we aren’t alone.

When life gets hard, sometimes all we can focus on is getting through the day. It’s impossible to think clearly and know that everyone you encounter has faced their own struggles.

I thought about this over the weekend when I was inspired by one of the members of our village, Andy. 

Andy has been part of the Pump Club village since the beginning, when it was just the daily email. He was one of the first members to join the Pump app. He is relentlessly positive, pumping up other members of the village every day on social media and in the app. His sons have joined him on his fitness crusade, and he inspires all of us when he talks about how proud he is of them.

You would never have guessed that Andy was diagnosed with cancer (even though it is treatable) or that he was starting chemotherapy.

I asked him if I could share his story here because it’s important for us to realize two things.

First, we aren’t alone. Andy immediately had the whole village pumping him up, and he went out and accomplished his 12-mile ranger ruck goal later that day. He said he had all of the positivity of the village fueling him. (I have a feeling he was going to do it no matter what.)

Second, that you never know what someone else is facing. They might inspire you, they might be more positive than you think you could ever be, and they could be struggling against their own gigantic challenge.

Once you realize those two things, I hope it gives you the strength to face your own struggles, knowing you aren’t alone. And I hope it gives you the wisdom to lend your strength to others when needed.

That’s what Andy has done. So today, let’s take his motivation and reach out to help someone who might be afraid to ask.

Thank you for the inspiration, Andy. All of us are rooting for you.

Is Vegan Really Better?

A new study is making headlines, but the details that matter most aren’t being shared. Scientists investigated the outcomes of identical twins who followed different diets: one twin consumed an omnivorous diet, and the other a vegan diet. 

They found that those following a vegan diet lost more weight, lowered total cholesterol and blood pressure, and had better insulin sensitivity and lower levels of C-reactive protein — a marker of inflammation linked to cardiovascular disease.

So vegan diets are better, right? It’s more detailed than that. Those following the vegan plan likely lost more weight because they ate fewer calories. So, was it the food choices or the calorie restriction and associated changes to the scale? We don’t know for sure because other studies have shown the numerous benefits of caloric restriction and weight loss, regardless of food choice.

Part of the reason we don’t want to overstate the the findings is because the vegan dieters mentioned that they didn’t enjoy the diet, which could’ve led to them consuming less. And, more importantly, many of the vegan dieters didn’t continue following the plan beyond the eight weeks of the study, which means it wasn’t sustainable.

As we mention frequently, a big part of eating well is feeling like you won’t screw up. That means following a plan with enough flexibility to stick to it for an extended period. Losing weight and getting healthier for eight weeks and then returning to old habits and gaining back the weight is what you want to avoid. 

If you can consistently follow a vegan or vegetarian plan, that’s great. But, because food preferences matter, a more practical takeaway is to add foods commonly found in a vegan diet because they have some undeniable health benefits, while still considering the foods you enjoy.

Vegan diets tend to be higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat, which contributes to many benefits, such as lower LDL cholesterol, lower insulin, and feeling fuller for longer, which is an important part of eating fewer calories and losing weight. 

There isn’t one magic pill diet. Many diets offer clues to what works and is good for your body. If you prioritize protein and fiber and eat many plant-based options, there’s no need to fear any particular food, whether dairy, red meat, eggs, carbs, sugar, or any other food typically signaled out as a problem. 

Workout of the Week

If there’s one thing you should know, intensity delivers results. But intensity doesn’t mean you must train to complete failure every day or that your workouts must go for hours at a time.

This workout maximizes every minute and has you done in less than 15 minutes. This plan involves exercising every minute on the minute (or EMOM).

Here's how it works: Set a countdown timer for 60 seconds. Complete all reps of the first exercise (10 reps in the plan below) and rest the remainder of the minute. Then, begin another 60-second timer, do the next exercise, perform all reps, and rest the remainder of the minute. You’ll complete this pattern for all five exercises. That’s one full round of the workout. Perform 2 to 3 total rounds and call out it day.  

  1. Bodyweight squat: 10 reps

  2. Pushups: 15 reps

  3. Walking lunges: 12 reps/leg

  4. Inverted row: 15 reps (or load a backpack and do rows)

  5. Plank: 20 seconds

Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell