The vegan diet for weight loss: what works and what to eat

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Deciding to lose weight can lead to exploring various diets, and one option that has gained popularity is the vegan diet.

This approach eliminates all animal products and emphasizes plant-based foods.

Research suggests that going vegan can be effective for weight loss, and here’s why, along with some of the best foods to include in your diet.

Firstly, a vegan diet tends to be lower in calories because it relies heavily on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains, which are less calorie-dense than meat and dairy products.

Studies have shown that people who follow a vegan diet often consume fewer calories without actively trying to reduce their intake.

For example, a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reviewed multiple trials and found that participants on a vegan diet lost more weight than those on more conventional low-fat and low-calorie diets.

Besides being lower in calories, vegan diets are high in dietary fiber, which comes from plants. Fiber helps keep you feeling full, which reduces the overall amount you eat throughout the day. This natural appetite control is a big bonus for anyone looking to lose weight.

A research article from Nutrition Reviews highlighted that high-fiber diets not only aid in weight loss but also improve digestion and metabolic health.

Another advantage of the vegan diet for weight loss is its impact on metabolism. A plant-based diet can increase the body’s metabolism, meaning it burns calories a bit faster.

This effect was noted in a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, where a vegan diet led to more calories burned after meals, compared to diets that included meat and dairy.

So, what foods should you focus on in a vegan diet to maximize weight loss? Here are some top choices:

  1. Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are excellent sources of protein and fiber, both of which are key for weight loss. They can be used in salads, soups, and stews, providing bulk and nutrition without too many calories.
  2. Whole grains: Foods like quinoa, oats, and brown rice are good for weight loss because they are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index. This means they help maintain steady blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer.
  3. Vegetables: You can hardly go wrong with vegetables. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients. Focus on a variety of colors to get a broad range of nutrients. Spinach, broccoli, and kale are particularly nutrient-dense.
  4. Fruits: While fruits are higher in sugar than vegetables, they are also high in fiber and antioxidants. Berries, apples, and pears are among the best choices due to their low calorie content and high fiber.
  5. Nuts and seeds: Although high in calories, nuts and seeds are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They are great for snacks but should be eaten in moderation to avoid excess calories.

Finally, it’s important to mention that while the vegan diet can be effective for weight loss, it should be well-planned. Removing animal products from your diet means you need to find other sources of certain nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.

Including a variety of foods and possibly supplementing certain nutrients will help ensure your diet remains balanced and healthy.

In summary, adopting a vegan diet can be a beneficial and effective way to lose weight, especially when combined with a well-rounded approach to eating that focuses on nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods.

Whether your goal is to shed a few pounds or make a significant change, the variety and richness of plant-based foods can provide both the nutrition you need and the flavors you enjoy.

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