A lot of readers ask us whether or not veganism is a good strategy for weight loss. We know that there are literally a million and one benefits to a vegan diet, but do you really have to cut out all dairy, eggs, and animal products to slim up?
The answer is no.
Your weight can sway in either direction, or remain the same. Here are some things to consider:
- Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Think about it: cookies, chips and juice can easily be vegan. These foods are often loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates, which are key players in packing on the pounds. If you want to become a vegan, make sure that you focus on plant-based foods that DON’T have any label. This means choose vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains whenever possible. And try to stick to water or unsweetened tea as your beverage of choice.
- As far as your waistline is concerned, it is possible to eat too much of a good thing. What do I mean by this? Well, a lot of new vegans can easily overdo it on the starchy and fatty foods. Avocados, nuts and vegetable oils are “good fats” that are excellent for your health. (Seriously, we should eat them every day.) But keep in mind they are fats. Fats are more calorically dense than other foods. For example, every gram of fat houses 9 calories, vs. every gram of carbohydrate and protein, which are only 4 calories per gram. If weight management is a concern, try to keep it to 1/4 of an avocado per meal or snack, 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of oil at a time and a small handful of unsalted nuts.
- Are you overdoing it on the sugar? I see a lot of vegan bloggers touting sugar filled smoothie bowls or 100% fruit smoothies. I do not recommend this (unless you are planning to exercise and burn use up all that glucose later on). Here’s the deal: while fruit has countless amazing health properties, it is a source of fructose (or fruit sugar).
- It’s the same as any food, if we consume more than we burn, it can easily turn into fat, which can cause weight gain. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that any kind of smoothie or breakfast bowl be balanced with fruit, vegetables, protein and healthy fats (if you can fit those in there, too). More specifically, I try to limit any fruit in a smoothie to 1 cup. to double your portion of veggies, making it 2 cups per serving. For more info on creating the perfect smoothie, checkout our guideline here.
- Consider satisfaction. If weight loss is the only motivation for becoming a vegan, you’re in trouble. It’s important to be happy and satisfied about your diet. The fact of the matter is that while we do recommend primarily plant-based eating, you do not have to be vegan (or even vegetarian) to lose weight. Choose a diet that works best for you and try to make it as healthy as you can.
If you need more tips on losing weight in a healthy way, make sure to check out our weight loss starter kit that goes over literally everything you need to know about getting to your goal weight. If you’re serious about becoming vegetarian or vegan, you may also want to check out our vegetarian starter kit, where we give you a step-by-step guide into making the healthy transition.
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This post was originally published on Food Heaven Made Easy.