If you are looking for an effective way to lose weight, it is worth considering a vegetarian diet for weight loss. Scientists are increasingly convinced of this vegetarian And the vegetarian diet It may be a particularly effective approach to combating obesity, says a review recently published in the Official Gazette. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (Opens in a new tab).
There are several reasons why carefully planned vegetarian and vegan diets may help you shed a size or two. First of all, the basic principle of losing weight is a Calorie deficiencyPlant foods tend to be lower in calorie density. It is also rich in dietary fibre. the basic It keeps your appetite under control and regulates your blood sugar levels. Vegetarian and vegan diets may have a beneficial effect on our diet gut health and levels of inflammation — two factors that may contribute to increased body weight.
At the same time, not every diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you shed unwanted weight easily. To maximize the fat burning potential of your vegetarian or vegan diet, some adjustments may be necessary. Here, we discuss how to follow a vegan diet for weight loss for the best possible results, with tips from a registered dietitian Rosie Martin.
If you want to switch to a vegan diet, but aren’t sure where to start, check out our article on Vegetarian diet for beginners For helpful tips and advice. And if you struggle to get enough protein, you can take a supplement Best vegan protein powder It can easily help you increase your intake.
1. Avoid highly processed foods
Highly processed foods tend to be of low nutritional quality, even if they are labeled vegetarian and marketed to health-conscious customers. Many assume that all plant-based products are good for you. However, when these foods undergo extensive processing, they are usually stripped of healthy nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Typical examples include products rich in simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, white pasta, and white rice, as well as ready meals, canned soups, and some Meat alternatives.
Processed foods also tend to be relatively higher in calories. “Humans eat the same weight of food every day. If a lot of that food is energy-dense, plant-based convenience foods, more energy will be consumed, along with sugar, salt, and saturated fats,” says Martin. “If a lot of that food is Instead, whole plant foods that are low in energy density, we could eat more, fill our stomachs and feel satisfied, but we would consume much less energy, more fiber, water, polyphenols, and antioxidants that are good for health and weight management.”
Rosie Martin is a registered dietitian and health coach in the United Kingdom. She worked as an NHS Dietitian for four years in various roles in acute and community hospitals. She continues to do so in her role as a nutritionist for employee health and wellness for NHS staff.
So if you want to follow a vegan diet for weight loss, focus on fresh produce and as little processed foods as possible. For example, make sure that most of your carbohydrates come from all grainsLike brown rice, rolled oats, and quinoa. For more great examples, check out these Seven healthy low-carb cereals to include in your diet.
2. Eat more non-starchy vegetables
If you want to follow a vegetarian diet for weight loss, it is a good idea to cut back on starchy vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, squash, carrots, and beetroot. It is true that these foods are full of essential nutrients and may provide many benefits to our health. At the same time, it is exceptionally rich in starchy carbohydrates. Even though they are a type of complex carbohydrate that helps keep our metabolism in control, eating too much starch may hinder your weight loss efforts.
Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, and exceptionally high in dietary fibre. These include leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and lettuce, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, leeks, celery, and cucumbers.
“Fiber is key to helping us feel physically full as well as to nourish our beneficial gut bacteria. Gut bacteria play an important role in weight management,” says Martin. When fiber is broken down, it produces substances called short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFA fatty acids help It helps regulate hunger hormones, control blood sugar levels, help us feel happy, and even supports our immune system.”
Try to include non-starchy vegetables at every meal, and aim to fill at least half of your plate with them. This way you will significantly reduce the calorie density of your diet, while getting a noticeable amount of dietary fibre.
3. Get enough good-quality protein
When following a vegan diet for weight loss, make sure you are getting enough quality protein. Cutting back on energy-dense plant foods such as beans, peas, nuts and seeds will help reduce the overall calorie value of your diet. At the same time, these foods are especially rich in protein. Without enough of them, it can be difficult to get enough of this important nutrient. One solution to this problem is to include more files The best plant-based protein sources In your diet, such as tofu, tempeh and seitan. Another is to increase your intake with Best vegan protein powders.
There are many reasons Protein is useful for weight loss. One of its main roles is to build and maintain our muscle mass. The more muscle we have, the higher our metabolism, and the more calories we burn each day. Protein may also help boost your energy levels and keep you hungry by making you feel fuller for longer, according to a review in Frontiers in Endocrinology (Opens in a new tab) magazine.
4. Prepare your meals in advance
When life gets hectic, many of us find it difficult to follow a healthy diet. We may struggle to find the time to cook a nutritious meal from scratch, or we may not have the energy to spend many hours in the kitchen.
One of the downsides to following a vegan diet for weight loss is that it can take a very long time, especially if you have to peel and chop vegetables. To avoid the takeaway temptation and stay on track no matter the circumstances, keep some ready meals and snacks in the fridge at all times. For example, develop the habit of preparing meals and cooking in batches on certain days of the week. Another good idea is to make sure you always have a healthy dessert at the ready when you’re craving something sugary.
5. Keep it balanced
Keeping your diet balanced and versatile is another important aspect to consider when trying to lose weight. “Eating this way will maximize fiber and beneficial plant compounds, increase the diversity of gut bacteria, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce your energy intake without making you hungry, and support you to reach your optimal weight,” explains Martin.
What can this mean in practice? “An easy way to plan your diet is to visualize a circle that represents your entire diet over the course of a day or week,” she advises. Aim to cover half of the plate with colorful fruits and vegetables such as apples, berries, broccoli, bananas, beets, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, and dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach.
“Fill a quarter with healthy whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, oats, and whole-wheat bread. Fill the last quarter with protein-rich plant foods like beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh. Feed your meal a small amount of healthy fats like seeds or avocados.”
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice.