What’s in this article?
- Weight Loss
- What can you eat on a vegan diet?
- What can’t you eat on a vegan diet?
- How can eating this diet help you lose weight?
- Health mistakes to avoid on a vegan diet
Eating a vegan diet is often associated with weight loss. An Oxford University study found that vegans had the lowest body mass index (BMI) ─ a measure of fat based on height and weight, meat eaters had the highest, and vegetarians and occasional meat eaters landed in between. Other health benefits of this diet include lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and improved liver health. While losing weight on a vegan diet is possible, if not done properly, it can also lead to weight gain and nutrition deficiencies. Read our article about a healthy approach to vegan weight loss.
What can you eat on a vegan diet?
Getting the required nutrients on this diet can be difficult. A vegan diet eliminates all animal products and challenges you to find the same vitamins and minerals in plant-based foods. A vegan diet is high in beans, lentils, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Vegans can also choose from animal product substitutions, like soy beef, almond milk and coconut yogurt. Check out some healthy, vegan recipes here.
What can’t you eat on a vegan diet?
Some dietary restrictions are clearer, such as meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products and honey – others, especially for those new to this diet, are less obvious. Foods and drinks that might contain animal products include refined sugar, non-dairy creamers, French fries, roasted peanuts, gummy candies, beer and wine. When grocery shopping or eating out on a vegan diet, it’s important to read product labels and communicate with restaurant staff.
How can eating a vegan diet help you lose weight?
Studies have connected eating this type of diet to weight loss. To lose weight, you need to achieve a healthy calorie deficit and vegan diets can help. A plant-based diet is high in fiber, which helps reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, eating an additional 14 grams of fiber daily may result in a 10% calorie decrease without limiting your calorie intake or portion sizes. High-fiber foods include beans, brown rice, and avocados. A vegan diet is packed with vegetables and fruits, so you can eat a similar amount of food for less calories in comparison to someone who isn’t vegan. A plant-based diet also limits your intake of unhealthy options, like fast food and baked goods. Studies show that the less you eat unhealthy food, the less you crave unhealthy food. In addition, it’s hard to find vegan-friendly options when dining out, so many vegans eat home cooked meals, which usually have less calories, sodium, saturated fats and sugar than restaurant meals.
Health mistakes to avoid on a vegan diet
It’s possible to lose weight on a vegan diet, however, it’s also possible to gain weight. Even with plant-based foods, health mistakes like overeating, not consuming enough protein, eating larger meals at the end of the day, and snacking late at night can cause weight gain. The amount of nutrients your body needs depends on your ideal weight, height, gender, age, and fitness level. It’s also important to remember that just because a food is classed as vegan-friendly, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. For instance, many processed foods and junk food are categorized as vegan-friendly, like sweet potato chips, but this doesn’t mean that they’re good for you. Eating a vegan diet can have many health benefits, but animal products offer many nutrients, like protein from chicken, calcium from milk, and vitamins B12 and D from eggs. When following this diet, make sure you’re getting the required nutrients from plant-based alternatives.
Learn about how to keep your liver healthy with Lauren Wagner RD and Amsety by watching this short video.