Some people go vegan for ethical reasons; others go vegan for weight loss. In general, going vegan can help you drop a few pounds. But there are some caveats that you should watch out for if you are considering going vegan to lose weight.
On a vegan diet, you should be eating more fruits and vegetables and whole foods while eliminating processed foods that contain animal products. However, with the new interest in vegan diets, many processed vegan food products could derail your best intentions because they contain additional salts and additives.
Much of the success of losing weight on a vegan diet relies on eating a wide variety of real, whole foods. By eliminating healthy foods from your diet, you also risk eliminating key nutrients. To ensure that you get all the benefits of a vegan diet, follow these basic guidelines to ensure a healthy, weight loss:
- Replace meat, dairy, and other animal proteins with beans and nuts and also take supplements like vitamin D and calcium to further boost your nutritional intake. It’s typically recommended that people losing weight eat 70 grams of protein a day. To reach this number on a vegan diet means consuming more calories.
- Although they are vegan, candies, sweets, chips, and packaged cookies are still unhealthy choices that add sugar and calories but no nutritional value. So avoid them.
- If your reason for going vegan is weight loss, try to make the transition gradually, starting with eliminating processed foods. By eliminating processed foods before you get rid of meat and animal products, you are less likely to rely on them later.
- Be prepared to eat more, possibly a lot more, than you do on a traditional diet because vegetables are less calorie dense than animal proteins. So make sure each meal is at least half veggies. If portion control is a problem for you, try starting a food diary to keep you on track. Large portions, lack of protein, and drinking too many sugary smoothies are often reasons that people don’t lose weight on a vegan diet.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and nuts and seeds are all good ways to satisfy your hunger. Augment with supplements and vitamins to fill in any nutritional gaps.
- Don’t forget to continue to exercise. Although dieting is much of the secret to weight-loss success, exercise also plays a role. Be sure to eat enough to power your workouts.
A good way to ensure that you’re eating all the things that you should is by following a vegan food pyramid. The vegan food pyramid is designed to get you on the right track. It’s a guideline that can be adapted to your personal needs and tastes.
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