Does a vegan diet help lose weight?

Today, thousands of people across the world are adopting little changes in their lifestyles. Thousands of people are paying more attention than ever to their eating habits. Many others are becoming more conscious of what they eat and where their food comes from, in the first place. This often involves the process of going vegan. Celebrities and commoners alike are turning to this healthier lifestyle, for varied reasons.

For some, it’s because they care about animals and want to do their bit towards protecting them from cruelty. For others, it’s a step towards a healthier life. But for many, it’s a solution to their weight issues. By far, many believe that a vegan diet can help them lose weight. But, we’re here to delve deeper and give you all the facts. Shall we?

As with any other diet, a vegan diet too has its own pros and cons. In order for it to help you lose weight, it must be planned strategically, so that you’re getting all the right nutrients from your meals, which are going to be devoid of meat, eggs, dairy, and other animal-derived ingredients. Besides, all vegan food is not necessarily healthy! So, it’s important to eat right, regardless of the diet plan that you choose to follow.

While a lot more research is needed to fully understand the positive effects of a vegan diet on the body, here are a few reasons why a vegan diet could potentially help you on your weight loss journey.

High in fiber

Typically, a vegan diet is that which contains food products and ingredients that are fiber-rich. In fact, a study conducted in the year 1985 found that vegans and vegetarians ended up eating a lot more fiber than omnivores do! Adequate fiber intake is vital if you’re looking at losing weight. This is because fiber helps keep you full after a meal, thereby eliminating the urge to snack soon after. It’s endowed with anti-inflammatory properties, keeps your cholesterol levels in check and helps regulate blood pressure. And all of this is simply excellent if you want to maintain or lose weight.

Low in saturated fat

Saturated fat, as we all know, is bad news. According to the World Health Organization, we aren’t supposed to consume more than 10 percent of calories from such saturated fat. Now, when you’re eliminating animal-derived ingredients and products from your diet, your saturated fat intake also drops. Additionally, what you’re eating on a vegan diet (read plant-based foods), is far healthier and provides your body with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that it needs.

Focus is on eating healthy

You may tend to lose weight on a vegan diet if you avoid unhealthy, processed food completely and focus instead, on healthier, plant-based options. More often than not, a vegan diet does stress upon eating healthy, fresh meals instead of store-bought vegan meals. So, when you’re eating right and eating fresh, weight loss might just be natural.

Even then, it’s important to control your portion sizes. If you’re eating the right food but way too much of it, there’s really no point and you’re going to end up putting on weight, anyway. Even on a vegan diet, you will need to cut back on your calorie consumption. This can be done by reducing the intake of refined carbs in your diet and ensuring that you get in more lean protein. If you do this, you’re bound to feel satiated for longer, so you won’t find yourself craving odd things at odd hours of the day!

Make sure to consume more fiber-rich fruits including apples, pears, berries and more. Vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, and carrots are equally good for you, since they also contain fiber, which as we told you, aids in weight loss. Say yes to healthy fats like olive oil and avocados and remember to eat your greens. This can include spinach, kale and the like. And since you aren’t consuming any meat, you’re going to have to try to get your protein from plant-based foods. Opt for tofu, seitan and even soy milk for the same. Remember to say no to processed vegan ‘snacks’ like ‘vegan’ granola bars and chips and do not consume way too much of white bread and pasta.

If you remember to do all of that, you will be able to successfully reap the benefits of a vegan diet.

-Sanjana Subramanian

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