The concept of a vegan diet is gaining more and more recognition these days. We hear about it on social media and see celebrities sharing their vegan meals on Instagram. It’s no surprise that many of us ask, “What’s the best vegan diet for weight loss?”
These diets exclude meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. but how effective is a vegan diet in helping us lose weight, especially excess belly fat? The short answer is: Yes, a vegan diet can be extremely healthy.
In fact, according to a 2013 study, a high-protein diet like the vegan diet can help you lose weight faster than other diets that restrict calories or fat.
Just because a vegan diet doesn’t magically make you lose weight. If you follow a vegan diet, you will generally burn more calories than you consume. Because you will be eating lots of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans.
Still don’t believe us? Take a look at this video where Whitney English. RD (Registered Dietitian) shares various studies indicating that a vegan diet is just as effective as any diet, helping you lose weight.
Best vegan diet for weight loss
If you decide to go vegan, think about how your diet will change. It’s hard to stay away from dairy, eggs, and animal products, especially when they’re included in your beloved bread and spaghetti. Giving up meat, especially if you are a carnivore, can be a difficult task.
While the idea of following a vegan diet is appealing, the reality of sticking to it can be harder than you might expect. You don’t have to start everything all at once. Small steps towards a plant-based diet can be more effective.
Here is an example of a whole day healthy eating vegan diet.
Before following this sample diet, it is important to consult a dietitian or nutritionist to plan meals according to your needs, as this can vary, and again, it is bio-individual.
To eat lunch
Cashew milk + rolled oats topped with fresh berries, almond butter, unsweetened coconut flakes, chia seeds, cocoa nibs and cinnamon.
For the lunch
A protein salad with tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, hemp seeds and arugula.
Cooked in a slow cooker, the curry is made with sweet potatoes and lentils, served with brown rice and sautéed broccoli.
Snacks or Desert
Peanut butter and cinnamon on apple slices. Non-dairy yogurt is replaced with coconut, almond or soy with fresh fruit. Yum!
Sample 2 for those who like to have toast for breakfast
To eat lunch:
1 slice of apple/pear, 2 slices of Ezekiel toast with almond butter and soy milk coffee.
To eat lunch:
A green salad composed of cucumber, tomato, carrots, 1/2 cup of cooked lentils, 1/4 cup of crispy chickpeas and half an avocado, seasoned with oil and vinegar.
Popcorn (stir-fried in oil) or trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit)
Farro, sweet potato, wilted leafy greens, sunflower seeds and lemon tahini dressing or brown rice, carrots, bean sprouts, red cabbage, edamame, scallions and peanuts in a peanut butter soy dressing.
How are vegan diets beneficial?
Vegan diets have higher fiber content than non-vegan diets.
Fiber is important for weight loss (and overall health) for reasons other than regular bowel movements. This keeps us full and satiated until our next meal, while avoiding snacking. A diet rich in fiber is therefore crucial for losing and maintaining weight.
Saturated fats are generally lower in vegan diets.
Reducing animal products dramatically lowers your saturated fat intake right away. Whole-food and plant-based diets emphasize a healthy heart and “good” carbs, allowing for higher intakes of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than the typical American diet.
Plant-based foods contain fewer calories than animal-based foods.
Plants have fewer calories per serving than animal products, so you’ll naturally eat fewer calories on a vegan diet. Foods like leafy greens, healthy grains, fruits, and legumes can be as wholesome as meat, cheese, and eggs while containing far less fat and calories.
Plant-based diets help boost your energy levels.
Because your body has to work harder to metabolize animal products than grains, nuts, seeds, and beans, that alone can give you more energy. Your body feeds on carbohydrates, which are abundant in foods and plant-based diets.
Before you start a vegan diet for weight loss, think about what the diet really means. If you’re looking to lose weight fast and don’t plan on sticking with it, you might be disappointed if the results don’t last.
For a healthy change that you can sustain long-term, focus on whole, plant-based foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Ultimately, what might make the most sense for your health, weight loss goals, and food preferences is a combination of different vegan diet styles.
The main takeaway here is to choose foods from each category above based on your personal needs and lifestyle. Vegan diets can be effective for weight loss and maintenance although not all are strictly whole foods, but starchy foods should be limited and eaten in combination with other beneficial nutrients.
Q. Would you go vegan for a week?
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