Vegetarianism has gained popularity in recent years.
However, losing weight on a vegetarian diet may be challenging, especially if you consume too many refined carbs or highly processed meals.
This article will show you how to lose weight while following a vegetarian diet.
|How to Lose Weight on a Vegetarian Diet
What is a vegetarian diet?
Vegetarian diets do not allow any meat, fish, or poultry.
Some people may adhere to this dietfor religious or ethical reasons, while others are drawn to it because of its potential health benefits.
The following are the basic forms of vegetarian diets:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian:Eggs and dairy are permitted, but meat, fish, and fowl are not.
- Lacto-vegetarian:Dairy is permitted, but eggs, meat, fish, and fowl are not.
- Ovo-vegetarian:Allows eggs but not dairy, meat, fish, or poultry.
- Vegan:includes no animal products such as honey, dairy, or eggs.
Other plant-based eating patterns include flexitarian (which includes some animal foods but is mostly vegetarian) and pescatarian (which includes fish but not meat).
Vegetarian diets commonly include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These meals are abundant in fiber, micronutrients, and plant compounds while being low in calories, fat, and protein.
Because it emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, this diet has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, some malignancies, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Furthermore, research suggests that eating a vegetarian diet might help you lose weight.
However, the advantages of vegetarianism are heavily dependent on the foods you consume and your overall dietary patterns.
Overeating or eating too many highly processed foods will deliver fewer advantages than a diet focused on unrefined, whole plant foods — and may have a number of negative consequences.
Barriers to losing weight on a vegetarian diet
While vegetarianism may appear to be a good strategy to lose weight, various variables may prevent this from occurring.
1. Eating large portions and not enough protein.
Eating more calories than you need may result in weight gain.
Even if you’re eating healthful meals on a vegetarian diet, you can be eating bigger quantities than required.
This is especially common if you do not get enough protein.
Protein can increase fullness by decreasing ghrelin levels, a hormone that controls hunger, which may lead to a reduction in overall calorie consumption and weight loss.
If you don’t get enough protein, you’ll eat more to feel satisfied, which might undermine your weight-loss efforts.
While a vegetarian diet may easily provide your protein needs, you may experience challenges initially when you eliminate meat from your diet.
2. Eating too many refined carbs.
On a vegetarian diet, foods heavy in refined carbohydrates, such as bread, pizza, and pasta, might be easy to overeat.
They’re widely available and, in some circumstances, the only vegetarian options at restaurants or social gatherings.
Refined carbohydrate foods lack fiber and do not satisfy hunger as effectively as whole-grain, complex carbohydrate foods. As a result, you may be overburdened with calories.
Furthermore, some research suggests that refined carbohydrates cause the production of excess insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. This may also result in weight gain.
Indeed, one study including over 500,000 participants discovered a substantial link between increased insulin levels after carbohydrate consumption and a higher BMI (BMI).
3. Overdoing calorie-rich foods.
While transitioning to a vegetarian diet, you may considerably increase your intake of high-fat plant foods.
Nuts, seeds, nut butter, avocados, and coconut are widely used in vegetarian cuisine. While these meals are incredibly nutritious, they also include 9 calories per gram, as compared to 4 calories per gram for proteins and carbs.
For example, 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter has 191 calories, 148 of which are from fat.
Furthermore, many people consume more nut butter and other beneficial fats than is suggested.
4. Focusing on highly processed vegetarian foods.
You may struggle to lose weight if you consume too many processed foods as part of your vegetarian diet.
Many ostensibly vegetarian products include unnecessary additives and other dangerous ingredients. Examples include veggie burgers, meat substitutes, prepared meals, baked goods, packaged desserts, and vegan cheese.
These meals are frequently heavy in calories and added sugars, as well as salt, highly processed chemicals, chemical preservatives, and coloring additives.
As a result, when consumed in excess, they may lead to weight gain.
In fact, one study found that eating ultra-processed meals raised the risk of obesity, as well as higher LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Tips to lose weight on a vegetarian diet
A vegetarian diet can improve weight loss in a variety of ways, including:
- Filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables: High-fiber vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, leafy greens, and mushrooms, can help you stay full while lowering your calorie consumption.
- Incorporating protein in every meal and snack: Beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs, dairy products, and soy foods are examples of high-protein vegetarian diets (such as tempeh, tofu, and edamame).
- Opting for complex carbs: Whole grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, and legumes are examples of filling foods.
- Eating mostly whole foods: To avoid overeating, combine nuts, seeds, and healthy fats with lower-calorie items.
- Watching your portions of high-calorie foods: Whole fruits and vegetables, for example, are free of needless additives.
- Limiting highly processed foods: Avoid meat substitutes, frozen dinners, and other ultra-processed foods, which are likely to include harmful additives, excessive salt, and sugar.
A well-balanced vegetarian diet that emphasizes whole plant foods while limiting refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods may aid in weight loss.
However, don’t overlook other crucial factors in weight loss, such as sufficient sleep, water, and exercise.
Vegetarian foods that aid weight loss
To lose weight, follow a vegetarian diet rich in whole, minimally processed plant foods.
You may also incorporate dairy or eggs depending on your regimen.
The following vegetarian meals may aid in weight loss:
- Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, bell pepper, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, celery, and cucumber are all examples of vegetables.
- Starchy vegetables: Winter squash, peas, potatoes, and corn
- Fruits:Berries, oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, citrus, kiwi, and mango are some examples.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, brown rice, farro, millet, barley, and bulgur wheat are all examples of grains.
- Beans and legumes: Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans are examples of legumes.
- Nuts and seeds: Nut butter, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds
- Lean proteins: Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, nut butter, eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, and soy products such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all good sources of protein.
- Healthy fats: Avocado, olive oil, coconut, almonds, seeds, nut butter, and cheese are all good options.
- Water and other healthy beverages: Fruit-infused water, naturally flavored seltzer, and basic coffee or tea.
Foods to avoid on a vegetarian diet for weight loss
While most plant meals are naturally healthy, highly processed vegetarian diets are not.
If you’re following a vegetarian diet for weight reduction, you should restrict or avoid the following foods:
- Highly processed vegetarian foods: Veggie burgers, meat substitutes, freezer dinners, frozen desserts, and dairy substitutes.
- Refined carbs: White bread, white spaghetti, bagels, and crackers are all options.
- Sugary foods and beverages: Candy, cookies, pastries, table sugar, sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, and sweet tea are all examples of unhealthy foods.
Furthermore, avoid eating extra-large amounts of any meal, especially those heavy in sugar and calories.
The bottom line
A vegetarian diet rich in nourishing plant foods may aid in weight loss.
However, it’s critical to get adequate protein while limiting your calorie consumption, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed meals.
Remember that not all vegetarian foods are nutritious.