Vegetarian Diet for Weight Loss
Vegetarian diet for weight loss is becoming extremely popular these days. Here we will discuss about what exactly is this diet and also know about its different variations.
The diet plan that excludes the use of meat, fish, and poultry products is a Vegetarian diet plan. There can be different reasons for choosing a vegetarian way of life.
The most common reason is that people find that there are huge health benefits from using a plant-based diet. You may become a vegetarian just for moral reasons, or if you are looking for a new way of diet. This kind of diet plan is also known to save us from many different health problems.
The reason can be anything, but always make sure that whatever diet you follow, it should make you healthy.
The main focus of a vegetarian diet for weight loss is to get the nutrients from plant foods. They recommend eating diverse plant-based foods every day. The problem comes when people start to interpret this diet plan differently. Some people might want to include eggs in their diet while others may not. One can only get healthy using this diet plan if the constituents of food are healthy.
For example, one can argue that French fries should be included in the vegetarian diet plan for weight loss, as it is plant-based. But we know that fried food is not healthy enough. One should not be sure that just by not eating an animal-based diet, they can get very healthy.
How Tasty is a Vegetarian Diet plan for weight loss?
If you compare the meals of this diet plan with any normal meals, a plant-based meal can be delicious. This is for the simple reason that you can be very innovative in planning a vegetarian plant-based meal to replace the food that is prohibited in this diet plan.
For example, if you wish to replace the animal proteins of your meals, a good option available is tofu that can be eaten instead of meat.
Plant-based foods give a better sense of satisfaction and are considered more filling. It is a myth that a plant-based diet plan makes you feel more hungry soon. Infact, a vegetarian diet plan for weight loss consists of foods that are rich in fiber content. Therefore this diet plan is more satisfying as fiber keeps the stomach full for a longer time.
The main feature of this diet plan is that it is low in calories, sugar, and saturated fats. Grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts are considered to be ideal for consumption in this diet. Different types of vegetarians may include dairy products and eggs also in this diet.
Types of Vegetarian Diet for Weight Loss
The meals in the vegetarian diet plan for weight loss are of many different types. This is due to different types of foods that are included in this diets.
This is the most common variation of the vegetarian diet plan. This diet avoids eating fish, meat, and poultry products like eggs. But dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are included.
This variation of a plant-based vegetarian diet also excludes the consumption of meat, poultry, and seafood. But this diet plan allows the eating of eggs.
#3. Lacto-ovo vegetarian
As the name suggests, this is a mix of the Ovo and Lacto vegetarian diet. This diet avoids the use of meat, fish, and poultry products, but eggs and dairy products are allowed.
This diet also recommends avoiding eating meat, fish and dairy items, and eggs. But this diet specifically asks to include fish in the diet.
This variation also does not allow eating meat and fish. However, this diet plan asks to include chicken. Some variations of this diet also add eggs and dairy products.
There is a lot of confusion between the terms vegan and vegetarian. In simpler terms, vegan is a modification of a vegetarian diet. So we can say that all vegans are compulsorily vegetarians. A person on a vegan diet does not eat meat, fish, eggs, and dairy items.
This is a flexible variation of the vegetarian diet. The primary focus does remain on eating plant-based foods, but you can also add meat, eggs, fish, and poultry products in the diet. But this animal or animal-based products are added in small quantities or occasionally
If you intend to follow a vegetarian diet for weight loss, you can choose to follow it strictly on a plant-based meal plan or any of the above variations allowed.
As said earlier the main motive of following any particular diet plan is to get healthy and remain healthy for a longer time. So choose the diet plan that fits your needs and criteria of health and fitness.
The Theory behind Weight Loss
It does not matter always what and how you eat, the sure way to lose weight is to go calorie-deficit in your diet, or exercise or a diet plan in combination with some exercise. The idea is either consume lesser calories than your body needs or burn more calories than you consume. It is estimated that making the body deficit of 3500 calories will make you lose 1 pound or 450 gm of body fat. People these days want to lose weight as fast as possible.
They hear about various diets that claim a loss of 10 pounds (4.5 Kg) in a week. These kinds of diet plans are unrealistic as to lose 10 pounds you will have to create a calorie deficit of 35000 calories. If you still try to achieve this unrealistic target, you will have to cut 5000 calories from your diet and burn an equal amount with heavy exercises.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the maximum weight loss that you can try per week should be between 1 to 2 pounds. Trying to lose weight more than this limit will not give your body time to adjust and there is a great possibility that you will regain the lost weight when you return to your normal eating habit.
Any weight loss plan that promises to lose more than 2 pounds in a week will be either too restrictive or not realistic to follow.
Is a Vegetarian diet for weight loss a fad?
Many people are preferring a vegetarian diet for weight loss. So does it mean that it is a temporary switch as fashion? According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy diet for weight loss should include all sources of nutrition like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and even grains and legumes. A healthy diet does not restrict any kind of food for the required nutrients and calories.
People following a vegetarian diet are seen to have lower BMI than those following non-plant-based diets. Journal of Geriatric Cardiologypublished a study that said that BMI increased with an increase in the amount of animal-based food in the diet. This study was done to see the effects of plant-based diets for the treatment and prevention of obesity.
This showed that omnivores had the highest BMI followed by semi-vegetarians, vegetarians and vegas has the lowest BMI values. So it was concluded that plant-based diets are a good option for weight loss.
It is easy for vegetarians to manage their weight as there are lesser calories in plant foods as compared to animal products. So by eating a lesser amount of plant-based food, people can feel more full due to fiber and water content and even consume lesser calories. According to the concept of energy density, vegetarian or plant-based food are a large volume and few calories foods (low energy density) and animal-product foods are lesser volumes and more calorie foods (high energy density). When you are following a diet for weight loss, you simply have to cut the higher density foods and include low-energy-density foods like fruits and vegetables.
Is it healthy because it’s Vegetarian?
If you are planning to switch to a vegetarian diet for weight loss, there are a few things that you should check. Just because a diet is vegetarian, will a diet necessarily be healthy? Yes, all plant-based foods contain many minerals and vitamins, but they still lack or have lesser quantities of nutrients that are only found in animal products. One such nutrient is protein, which is important for weight management as it decreases the appetite and helps to increase metabolism rate. We also get proteins from plant sources such as grains, beans, legumes, etc. If you like to build muscles following a vegetarian diet plan, you do not need to consume more proteins than the daily recommended requirement as the strength training will change the muscles.
If you are not careful, even by following a vegetarian diet plan for weight loss, you can consume too many calories. According to The Mayo Clinic sweetened drinks, fried snacks, desserts, etc are loaded with calories and can lead to weight gain.
According to Harvard Health here are a few tips if you wish to follow a vegetarian diet plan for weight loss:
- Eat kinds of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Use oil from nuts like Olive Oil and Canola oil.
- Read food labels for the ingredients and portion control.
- Practice some physical activity every day.
Vegetarianism a great lifestyle change, but it is not a 100% guarantee of weight loss. It helps you with natural calorie control with nutrient-rich foods in the diet. If this kind of diet appeals to you, focus on replacing animal products in your diet with fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Remember to create a calorie deficit meal plan to lose your excess weight.
An ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach and a health freak. I love to write about health issues.
Interested in Nutrition, Low Carb, intermittent fasting, weight loss plans, healthy immune system, healthy eating, fitness and much much more.