Can authentic soul food be veganized and still taste delicious? That’s the plan for some University of South Carolina researchers who hope to upgrade the popular American diet with vegan ingredients.
A two-year study will look at how eliminating animal-based ingredients as well as reducing salt and fat content could revolutionize the diet once popular with African Americans based in the south, but now one of the nation’s most beloved diet trends.
The research team will be recruiting test subjects to eat vegan versions of soul food while another test group consumes a healthier version of traditional soul food that still contains animal ingredients.
“This study addresses two challenges seen among African American (AA) participants during previous weight loss and dietary interventions aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk: poor weight loss results and high attrition rates,” the study trial brief notes. “Investigators will target both of these challenges by using a randomized design to compare a plant-based dietary intervention (vegan diet) vs. an omnivorous (omni) diet and by focusing on culturally-tailored food choices for AA adults living in the South. Therefore, the objective of the study is to conduct a culturally-tailored, randomized trial examining how a vegan diet affects CVD risk factors and weight as compared with an omni diet. The study will randomize overweight AA adults (n=130) to follow one of two different diets (vegan or omni) for 24 months.”
Many soul food dishes have already been veganized and serve as staples for plant-based brands and restaurants — from a booming vegan mac and cheese market to vegan Cajun food, vegan fried chicken, and even vegan barbecue.
The research aims to conclude in 2021.