Is it possible to lose weight?
If you want to lose a few pounds, you may want to try a vegan diet. Vegans do not eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy products. Instead, eat things like fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, as well as herbal milk, other non-dairy products and meat alternatives.
Although some people choose vegan lifestyle out of ethical concerns for animals, the diet itself may have some health benefits. According to recent studies, being vegan can even help you lose a significant amount of weight.
How exactly? More research is needed, but it is believed that becoming vegan can reduce the number of high-calorie foods you eat. With a vegan diet, you may end up replacing such foods with high-fiber, low-calorie alternatives that keep you full longer.
Eliminating some of the main food groups in your diet may seem unhealthy. And if you don’t pay attention to your diet, it can be.
Some worry, for example, about getting enough protein or other essential nutrients, such as vitamin B-12. This vitamin is found naturally only in products of animal origin, and if you become deficient, it can lead to anemia. Vegans need to supplement their diet with vitamins, vitamin-rich cereals and soy-enriched products to avoid deficiencies.
Others may have problems with their yo-yo diet after becoming vegan. What this means? It is when you go through weight loss cycles and then regain all or more weight, possibly after you have trouble sticking to only vegan foods. This type of diet is associated with some serious health consequences, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Regardless of these and other possible pitfalls, you can eat a healthy vegan diet and lose weight. The key – as with all diets – is to focus on nutrient-rich foods versus empty calories. For vegans, these foods would include things like:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- beans and legumes
- nuts and seeds
Limit or avoid processed vegan foods that contain these added ingredients:
- Food Additives
In general, women need to eat 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight. To lose weight, this number drops to about 1,500 calories a day. In general, men need to eat 2,500 calories a day to maintain their weight and about 2,000 calories a day to lose weight.
A calorie of junk food is not equal to a calorie of a whole food in terms of nutrition. Even if you stay under the calorie target, filling all the nut butter cakes, which happens to be vegan, is very different from filling the buckets with fresh produce.
There are many factors that affect weight loss, including:
- current weight
- levels of physical activity
- metabolic health
- other medical problems
Although you can’t control all of these factors, you can control your diet and exercise. Regardless of the type of diet you choose, you should follow these recommendations for a healthy diet.
Grazing throughout the day is not good for weight loss. Meal scheduling is essential to boost your metabolism and promote healthy eating habits.
Generally, try to eat at the same time each day to bring your mind and stomach into a predictable pattern. Eat a richer breakfast compared to other meals of your day. This may mean changing your lunch a little earlier and eating a smaller dinner.
If you have been exercising, try to eat within 45 minutes of completion. This will help you feed and repair your muscles.
When should you not eat? In two hours from bed. Calorie intake too close to bedtime is associated with weight gain and sleep disorders.
Portion size matters with any of the foods you eat – vegan or not. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Plate suggests that women and men on average receive the following number of servings of these foods each day:
Current recommendations for protein intake are about 5.5 ounces a day or about 0.41 grams per kilogram of body weight. This means that a 150-pound woman should consume about 61 grams of protein each day. A man of 175 pounds should consume about 72 grams every day.
When you break this down into calories, there are about 4 calories per gram of protein. So the woman in this example should get 244 calories from protein every day, and the man should get 288 calories from protein.
Good sources of vegetable protein include:
Before sipping that store-bought smoothie, consider how many calories it might contain. Even so-called healthy drinks and energy mixes can provide a pretty caloric punch.
First, let’s take a look at a drink that most people know should be avoided during the diet: a 20-ounce soda contains about
But what about that freshly squeezed orange juice? Contains approx
Read the labels carefully and consider keeping these drinks for special occasions.
Staying with water is usually the best bet when trying to reduce the number on the scales. It is moisturizing and contains zero calories. If you don’t like plain water, you might want to consider adding a splash of lemon or lime, or try herbal teas and sparkling water.
The same rules apply to vegan and non-vegan desserts: Eat them in moderation. The average American eats 22.2 teaspoons of sugar every day. Whether it comes from a decadent ice cream or a batch of vegan cakes, there are still 335 calories that contain a low nutritional value.
Sugar can disrupt your metabolism and lead to health problems beyond weight gain, including high blood pressure, inflammation and high blood triglycerides. How much of the sweet stuff is enough? Women should try to limit their daily sugars to about 6 teaspoons or 100 calories each day. Men should aim for less than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories each day.
If you’re looking for a healthy vegan dessert option that is relatively low in calories, with no added sugars or fats, try fresh fruits. Otherwise, eat a small portion of a vegan dessert and keep the rest for tomorrow or next week.
A vegan diet can help you lose weight. However, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor or dietitian before making any major changes to your diet. You should discuss how you will get essential nutrients, such as protein and B vitamins.
Your doctor may also have other suggestions on how to lose weight, such as keeping a food diary or engaging in a regular exercise routine.