Vegan diets are increasing in popularity, and with good reason! Experts say they are better for the environment and typically lower in fat than the Standard American diet. But can they also aid weight loss? My answer is: yes. Here are 4 ways a vegan diet can aid in weight loss.
Vegan diets are typically higher in fiber.
A simple Google search can tell you that plant-based foods and grains are highest in fiber. Thus, vegans typically intake more fiber than omnivores! And although fiber is typically associated with, well…pooping, it does more than that. Fiber helps lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, aid digestion, and promote weight loss. How? Fiber is what keeps us full between meals, thus reducing the tendency to overeat. It’s no wonder a diet high in fiber aids weight loss!
Vegan diets are typically lower in calories.
As I mentioned before, vegan diets are higher in fiber, so they help us feel full. In this way, a lot of plant-based eaters consume fewer calories. The fiber is satiating, and foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, and veggies are typically lower in calories than meat and cheese. Since weight loss is mainly about eating fewer calories than you burn, eating a plant-based vegan diet can aid in weight loss.
Vegan diets are typically lower in saturated fat.
Saturated fat is a type of fat typically associated with high cholesterol and increased risk of obesity. These fats are most common in red meat and dairy products. Thus, a vegan diet (without a lot of oil) is typically lower in saturated fat than an omnivorous one. Fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins, so a diet high in saturated fat is also most likely higher in calories. See how it all comes together?
A vegan diet may give you more energy.
Plant-based vegan diets are full of healthy sources of carbs, like whole grains, beans, and fruits. And our bodies thrive the best on these high-quality carbohydrate sources! With this increased energy, it’s easier to exercise and get moving! And that leads to what? More calories burned!
Things to Watch Out for When Using a Vegan Diet for Weight Loss
No diet is perfect. And as I mentioned before, weight loss (in a nutshell) is calories in vs. calories out. Even on a vegan diet, overeating and weight gain can occur, so here are some tips to combat that.
- Limit the use of oil. Oils are calorically dense and high in fat, so any healthy diet would limit their use. And although some oils contain healthy fats, they are still high in calories, and should be used sparingly. Does this mean you should never eat fried foods, olive oil, or French fries again? Of course not! (And anyone who tells you this is crazy!) But just make sure they are “once in a while” foods and not the staple of your diet.
- Watch out for processed food. Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And as with any diet, it is important to minimize your intake of processed or junk food. As a beginner vegan, it’s so easy to transition to this lifestyle with vegan burgers, chick’n patties, and candy bars, but remember: these foods are treats or “sometimes foods”. They often contain so many ingredients, without a lot of fiber and nutrients. To make a vegan diet healthy for weight loss, make sure it is comprised mostly of whole, plant-based foods.
- Replace simple carbs with whole grains. Avoid filling up on simple carbs like white bread and pasta, and instead, swap them for whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa. These whole grains are full of vitamins and fiber, which aids weight loss by keeping you fuller longer.
- You still must have healthy habits. Adopting a vegan lifestyle does not automatically ensure weight loss; you still have to have healthy habits. Such habits include exercising regularly, not smoking, limiting alcohol, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress. These habits, in conjunction with a vegan diet, can aid weight loss.
A vegan diet can definitely be an effective weight-loss tool when used correctly. And although they are lower in calories and saturated fat and higher in fiber to aid weight loss, they also need to be combined with healthy lifestyle changes. Learn more about veganism, health, and wellness at www.naturalblackvegan.com.