Does going vegan help you lose weight?

lose weight being vegan

There’s been a massive rise in veganism over the past few years, with lots of people going vegan for their health and diet needs. This has led to a widespread misconception of veganism = guaranteed weight loss with many assuming that it’s super simple to lose weight by switching to a vegan diet. In fact, if you’re not conscious of what you’re eating, then there are plenty of ways to gain weight on a vegan diet!

So, ladies, if you want to lose weight on a vegan diet, you need to make sure that you’re eating the right and actually healthy foods most of the time.

Following a vegan diet for weight loss: what you need to know

Vegans don’t eat any animal products, which means no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products. Instead, they eat fruit & vegetables, beans & legumes, plant-based milks, non-dairy products, and meat alternatives.

Although many people choose to be vegan because of ethical concerns, whether for animals or the environment, some recent studies have shown that being vegan may help you lose weight. This is because you may end up reducing the number of high-calorie foods that you consume and instead replacing them with high-fiber alternatives that are lower in calories and keep you fuller for longer. Some more research is needed into this to know for sure.

Remember, if you switch to a vegan diet, cutting out some of the main food groups in your diet could lead to deficits if you ignore your nutrition. For example, some may worry about not getting enough iron or vitamin B12. To avoid deficiencies, vegans will need to supplement their diet with vitamins, fortified cereals & soy products.

Additionally, some people may struggle with yo-yo dieting after going vegan, which is when you go through weight loss and weight gain cycles.

Also Read: 30 Day meal plan for weight loss

But regardless of these and other possible pitfalls, you can absolutely eat a healthy vegan diet and lose weight. As will all diets, you just need to focus on nutrient-dense foods vs empty calories.

Nutrient-dense foods for vegans include:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  •  whole grains
  •  legumes and beans
  • seeds and nuts

Similarly, you should limit or avoid overly processed foods, as with any diet, that contain these added ingredients:

  • fats
  • sugars
  • starches
  • sodium
  • food additives

Our top tips for losing weight on a vegan diet

Generally, we need to eat 2,000 calories a day to maintain our weight, but this needs to drop down to around 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. However, eating 1,500 calories of Oreos (which are vegan!) is not the same as eating 1,500 calories of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

Create a routine

Grazing through the day, or even whilst you’re working or watching television, isn’t good for weight loss. Instead, try to eat your meals at the same time each day to get your mind and stomach into a routine.

If you work out, try and eat within 45 minutes of finishing, this will feed and repair your muscles.

Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime; consuming calories before bed is associated with weight gain and sleep disturbances.

Be aware of your portion sizes

oatmeal fall foods

Vegan or not, portion size matters. The United States Department of Agriculture’s ‘My Plate’ suggests that women get the following servings of these foods every day:

Grains – 6 servings

Vegetables – 3+ servings

Fruits – 2 servings

Dairy or dairy alternatives – 2-3 servings

Meat and beans – 5 ounces

Fats/oils – 5-6 servings

Here are some examples of single servings in each food group for vegans to give you an idea of portions.

Food type Serving size
Grains – 1 slice of bread

– 1 cup of cereal

– ½ cup of cooked cereal, pasta, or rice

Vegetables – 1 cup of raw leafy greens

– ½ cup of raw or cooked veg

– ¾ of vegetable juice

Fruit – 1 medium piece whole fruit, such as an apple, banana, orange, or pear

– ½ cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit

– ¾ cup of no-sugar-added fruit juice

Dairy – 1 cup of non-dairy milk
Meat and beans – ½ cup of cooked dry beans

– ½ cup of tofu

– 2 ½ ounces soy burger

– 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

– 1/3 cup nuts

Fats – 1 tablespoon of oil

– 1 tablespoon of butter

– ½ medium avocado

– 1-ounce of nuts

– 2 tablespoons of nut butter

Make sure you’ve got enough protein in your diet

Many people worry when going vegan whether or not they have enough protein in their diet. The current recommendation for protein intake is around 5.5 ounces a day, or approximately 0.41g of protein per pound of body weight. There are roughly 4 calories per gram of protein, which means that women should get around 244 calories from protein each day.

There’s plenty of good sources of plant-based protein, including:

– tempeh

– soybeans

– seitan

– lentils

– beans: chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans

– tofu

– quinoa

– textured vegetable protein (TVP)

– peanut butter

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Skip the ‘healthy’ drinks

How often would you eat a banana, half a mango, half a pineapple, two apples, four grapes and a pear in one sitting? Probably not very often, right?

Healthy drinks like smoothies, juices and even kombucha can pack quite a punch in calories. Freshly squeezed OJ typically contains around 279 calories per 20 ounces, whilst an acai smoothie could have up to 460 calories per 20 ounces. These aren’t just drinks and should be considered a snack or meal.

Also Read: Glucomannan: Is it effective for weight loss?

Your best bet is to stick to water and save these drinks for special occasions. Water is hydrating and completely free of calories. If you’re not a fan of plain water, why not add a dash of lemon or lime? Or give herbal teas or sparkling water a go?

Eat dessert in moderation

Did you know the average American eats a whopping 22.2 teaspoons of sugar each day? That’s 335 calories with little to no nutritional value. Sugar can mess with your metabolism and lead to health issues like high blood sugar, inflammation and elevated blood triglycerides.

If you’re looking for a healthy vegan dessert option to assist with your weight loss goals, try a piece of fresh fruit. Alternatively, share a dessert or have some now and save the rest for another time.

Avoid processed vegan alternatives

There’s a vegan alternative for almost everything now, which gives you so much variety and choice when following a vegan diet. However, these should be eaten in moderation as eating this kind of processed food regularly will not aid your weight loss goals.

Plan your meals and meal prep

vegan diet to lose weight

Many of us know what we should be eating to lose weight, whether we’re vegan or not. But the struggle comes when we’re tired and not really in the mood to create a healthy meal. This is where meal prep comes in handy!

Also Read: 16 weight loss secrets that everyone needs to know

Choose some meals for the week; opting for recipes with similar ingredients will help you cut down waste. Then spend a few hours prepping a week’s worth of meals all at once and store them in the fridge.

This means when you’re tired and feeling lazy, you’ll be less inclined to reach for the takeout menu or eat something processed because everything you need is in the fridge, ready to go!

So, does going vegan help you to lose weight?

vegan diet to lose weight

As we’ve discussed, eating a vegan diet may help you to lose weight. However, a healthy diet and regular exercise are vital to any weight loss goals. Before making any big decisions, it might be a good idea to check in with your doctor or dietician to know where you’re getting vital nutrients, protein, and B vitamins.

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