A new two-part study conducted by vegan medical group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found that employees at Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) improved job performance and personal health after following a plant-based diet. PCRM focused on selecting participants that had type 2 diabetes and a body mass index of 25 or more. During the first 22-week study, employees were given low-fat, plant-based foods such as hummus, vegetables, green salads, and vegan chili at work and were provided support for cooking similar meals at home. PCRM staff found that, after the study period, participants had lost an average of 11 pounds each—with two employees losing 40 pounds each—and missed fewer workdays. The second study—which lasted 18 weeks and included 300 GEICO employees from 10 offices nationwide—was similar to the first but included an emphasis on consuming a diet high in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fiber, and fruit. Participants in the second study lost an average of 10 pounds each, lowered their cholesterol, stabilized their blood sugar, and reported feeling less anxiety, depression, and fatigue. “If employers are wondering, ‘Will this work here?, the answer is ‘yes,’” PCRM founder Neal Barnard, MD said. “The same dietary approach that reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as boosts overall mood, may produce huge benefits for the employer as well.” Barnard revealed that a longer two-year study was previously conducted with GEICO employees and that many of those participants have maintained a plant-based diet long-term. “When you lose weight, you have a sense of power and accomplishment,” Barnard said. “You can improve your life as well as the health of the company.”
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