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Identical Twins Test Vegan vs. Omnivorous Diet – Notable Impacts on Libido, Body Fat, and Muscle

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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In a world increasingly fascinated by the impact of diet on health and performance, identical twins Hugo and Ross Turner, known for their adventurous spirit and as “the adventure guinea pigs,” embarked on a unique 12-week journey. 

Their mission? To scientifically compare the effects of a vegan diet against an omnivorous diet, leveraging their identical genetics to strip away bias and opinion and focus on the facts.

Identical Twins Test Vegan vs. Omnivorous Diet
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The Experiment: Setup and Execution

The Turner twins are no strangers to challenging environments, having scaled mountains and trekked across continents for both research and charity. 

Their latest quest, however, brought them into the contentious territory of dietary effects on health. From January to March, under the guidance of King’s College researchers and a rigorous fitness regimen, the twins set out to explore how these diets would affect their bodies and performance. 

Each consumed an equal number of calories, meticulously prepared by the Mindful Chef delivery service, ensuring the only variable was the source of their food.

Results: Physical and Mental Impact

Hugo’s Experience on a Vegan Diet

Transitioning to a vegan diet, Hugo experienced notable fat loss, dropping from 185 pounds to 181, with his body fat percentage decreasing from 13% to 12%

Beyond physical changes, Hugo reported enhanced energy levels and sharper mental focus, especially during his midday gym sessions. 

This shift could partly be attributed to his altered snacking habits, now favoring fruits and nuts over his previous choices. 

However, he observed a significant drop in his libido, a change that puzzled him but didn’t detract from the overall positivity of his experience.

Ross’s Experience on an Omnivorous Diet

Ross, on the other hand, saw an increase in muscle mass but also a slight rise in body fat, culminating in a body fat percentage of 15%

His diet was rich and varied, incorporating chicken, fish, red meat, vegetables, dairy, and grains, providing a stark contrast to his typical dietary habits. 

Despite these changes, his cholesterol levels remained unchanged, suggesting a nuanced relationship between diet and heart health metrics.

Gut Microbiome Changes

A significant finding from their diet experiment was the impact on gut microbiome diversity. 

The vegan diet led to a reduction in microbiome diversity, which is linked to a host of health issues. 

Conversely, the meat-consuming twin maintained a stable microbiome diversity, suggesting a potential protective effect against illness. 

This revelation highlights the importance of dietary diversity, particularly the inclusion of various plants and foods rich in polyphenols, to nurture a healthy gut ecosystem.

Lessons Learned and Future Directions

Reflecting on their journey, the twins acknowledged the experiment’s limited duration but valued the profound insights gained. 

Intent on incorporating more plant-based foods into their diets, they highlighted the enriched diversity and potential health benefits of such a nutritional approach

The experience also dismantled some preconceived notions about vegan diets, particularly regarding taste and satisfaction, encouraging a more open-minded approach to dietary choices.

Conclusion

The Turner twins’ experiment sheds light on the nuanced effects of vegan and omnivorous diets on identical genetics, offering a valuable perspective in the ongoing dialogue about nutrition, health, and wellness. 

Their findings underscore the importance of balance and variety in diet, advocating for a personalized approach to nutrition that harmonizes with one’s lifestyle and health goals. As they aptly summarize, the optimal diet is not about choosing between plant-based or animal-based foods but rather integrating the best of both worlds to support a healthy, vibrant life.

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About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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