Vegetarian Weight Loss
If you are desperate to lose weight after a lifetime of struggles you may be willing to try anything to get down to the number you want to see on the scale. Some strategies, such as lap band surgery and liposuction are pretty extreme, and come with a whole host of side effects. Other changes, such as increasing exercise and changing your diet may feel just as extreme at first, but are much more sustainable and healthy for you in the long term. While consistent physical activity is often heralded as the primary factor in maintaining your weight, you must alter your diet in order to lose those extra pounds. Some people have considered becoming a vegetarian in order to help make that happen. But is that a sound strategy? Will a vegetarian diet help you lose weight?
The answer isn’t exactly simple, and you must look at each of the factors closely. By definition, a vegetarian diet cuts out proteins derived from the meat of animals. You can continue to eat eggs and dairy products however. Cutting those out in addition is defined as veganism, A vegan doesn’t eat anything with an animal origin. And when you cut out an entire food group like that, you are always going to lose weight. But what about through a simple vegetarian diet?
Some factors will certainly increase the likelihood you’ll be able to lose weight. First of all, a vegetarian diet will include more fruits and vegetables than you were probably eating before. Both food groups have a high water content and fiber content. That means they expand in your stomach, giving you that ‘full’ feeling sooner than with other foods. In addition, fruits and vegetables are much less calorie rich than other choices, so you’ll get that full feeling from far fewer calories. Since the only real way to lose weight is to take in less calories than you burn off from the day’s activity, this seems to mean you’ll be in great shape.
On top of that benefit, the bulk of a vegetarian diet also includes less saturated fat than a diet with meat in it. You’ll get your fats from whole grains, beans and plant-based proteins, and none of them have that dangerous saturated fat that animal protein contains. Again, you’re looking at a lower overall fat content and fewer calories, so this is also in your favor.
However, a vegetarian diet does nothing to impact portion control. Vegetarians often compensate for the lack of protein by eating an overabundance of pasta, eggs and cheeses. While you will still be better off than if you were also eating animal protein on top of this, the combination could result in too many calories for a given day. Unless you exercise enough to make up for that, you won’t lose weight.
Vegetarians also have to cook more and read more labels than omnivores, and often develop some poor eating habits because of it. There is vegetarian junk food, and snack bars, soy fast food products and sodas are just as damaging to a diet as meat is. Too many sugary and fatty snacks and you’ll completely undo the good work of decreasing animal protein, and even taking the best multivitamin on the market won’t do anything to change that. It comes down to good decisions, and the basics are the same regardless of your diet of choice.