It has become increasingly popular to be a vegetarian over the last few years. Researchers have found that eating this way reduces chronic diseases and may also help with weight loss.
When on a vegetarian diet, it can be challenging to lose weight if you eat too many refined carbohydrates or highly processed meals.
This article will provide you with the necessary information on how a vegetarian diet can help you lose weight and what you should be aware of.
What exactly is a plant-based (vegetarian) diet, and how does it work in practice?
A vegetarian diet is a diet that does not contain any animal products and fish. It consists primarily of eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. When compared to animal-based foods, this type of food is exceptionally high in fiber, micronutrients. In addition, they have lower calorie, protein counts, and fat than animal-based foods.
Vegetarianism has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Aside from that, studies have demonstrated that being a vegetarian can be a successful way to lose weight. Many people follow this diet for religious or moral reasons. But, for others, it’s more likely that they’re attracted to it because of its health benefits.
In general, vegetarian diets fall into one of the following categories:
Those following a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet are permitted to eat eggs and dairy products, but they are not allowed to eat fish, poultry, or meat.
Lacto-vegetarian: This diet permits the consumption of dairy products but does not permit the consumption of eggs, meat, fish, or poultry.
Ovo-vegetarian: Ovo-vegetarian refers to someone who eats eggs but not dairy products, meat, fish, or poultry.
Vegans: Vegans avoid all animal products, including honey, dairy, and eggs; they favor plant-based alternatives.
Flexitarians: Flexitarians are people who tolerate the consummation of some animal product on their vegetarian meals.
Pescatarians are those who include fish in their vegetarians’ meals but exclude meat completely.
Obstacles to losing weight while adhering to vegetarianism
To benefit from vegetarianism, you need to watch the type of food you consume, quantity, and frequency. While vegetarianism looks to be a beneficial weight loss technique, there are a few aspects to consider if you need to succeed.
Let us examine a few of them together.
Serving a significant portion and consuming too little protein
The consumption of excessive quantities hinders your effort of losing weight even if your meal consists of one hundred percent of highly nutritious veggies, especially if you are consuming more calories than required.
Include enough protein intake in your meal because protein lowers ghrelin levels, a hormone that regulates hunger. It can help you feel fuller for a more extended period; as a result, you will consume fewer calories, which will help you lose weight more quickly and effectively.
Without enough protein in your diet, you may find yourself eating more to satisfy your hunger, which will thwart your weight-loss efforts.
When following a vegetarian diet, you will have no trouble meeting your protein requirements; however, it is good to know that if you stop entirely eating meat, you may experience some difficulties at first.
Consuming a high amount of refined carbohydrates
Be careful not to overindulge in carbohydrates, particularly those high in refined carbohydrate sources such as pizza, white rice, pasta, and bread.
Dietary carbohydrates derived from refined grains and sugars are typically low in fiber and do not satisfy hunger as effectively as foods derived from whole grains. As a result, they have the potential to make you gain weight by consuming significant portions.
More to the point, some research suggests that refined carbohydrates cause the release of extra insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. This, too, has the potential to contribute to weight gain.
Excessive consumption of calorie-dense foods
Vegetarianism is frequently associated with an increase in the consumption of high-fat plant foods.
Vegetarian recipes often include ingredients such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, coconuts, and more. However, while these foods are incredibly nutrient-dense and satisfying, they also have between 7 to 4 calories per gram by comparison with most carb aliments that contain between 4 to 2 calories per gram.
Using pumpkin seeds as an example, one tablespoon (16 grams) contains 96 calories, of which 74 are from saturated fat.
Adding to that, many people consume substantially more nut butter and other healthy fat sources than the American Heart Association’s recommended serving size.
Consumption of highly processed vegetarian foods
Your chance to lose weight may diminish if your vegetarian diet includes too many processed foods.
While many items are ostensibly vegetarian, they frequently contain needless chemicals and other potentially dangerous components. Examples of what is available in the market include vegan burgers, meat substitutes, freezer meals, plant-based milk, and vegan cheese.
Processed vegetarian foods are heavy in calories and sugars due to the production process. These foods usually contain a high sodium content, a high concentration of highly processed chemicals, chemical preservatives, and coloring additives. As a result, when consumed in large quantities, they may increase body weight.
Scientists found that eating ultra-processed meals raised the chance of obesity and the likelihood of having high LDL (bad) cholesterol and high blood pressure, among other things.
It is wise to know that overeating in any diet is not advisable. This also applies to a vegetarian diet, especially when overindulging refined carbohydrates products and highly processed foods. Instead, you should try to eat primarily whole plant foods by keeping your eyes on the quantity.