I’m sure you have heard that it is possible to lose weight and keep it off by doing exercises and not eating a lot. Does it mean – what you eat does not matter?
Not really. A research study done by University of Oxford and Cancer Research UK was published in the Journal of Obesity , revealed that people who consume less meat gained the least amount of weight. Vegans were at the top of the list followed by vegetarian diet to lose weight.
In another research study, there were more than 1000 people who followed various weight loss diet plans for 18 weeks and it was found that those who followed a plant based diet lost 4 pounds more than those who consumed meat based diet.
Vegetarian diet has much less calories compared to a diet that has meat. If you do a pound to pound comparison, one pound of beef packs five times more calories compared to one pound of carrots.
Vegetarian diets also help in lowering cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure & hypertension, and cut down the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
However before you switch to vegetarian diet to lose weight, it is important to note some deficiencies with plant based diet.
Deficiencies In Vegetarian Weight Loss Diet Plan And How To Overcome
Several studies have indicated that a pure plant based diet may lack certain essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) which are certain type of omega 3 fatty acids.
Consuming diary products like cheese, yogurt, milk, and whey powder can easily provide you vitamin B12. Even eggs are a good source of vitamin B12.
The EPA/DHA omega 3 fatty acid requirement can be met by consuming green algae supplements.
Green algae are a powerhouse for meeting the EPA/DHA requirements of the human body.
How To Get Started?
If you have been a strict non vegetarian then you won’t find it easy to switch to a vegetarian diet plan all of a sudden. It is best to try the vegetarian diet for one week and observe the difference in your body.
If things are good then you can extend the vegetarian weight loss diet plan for the next several weeks or months.
You need to follow a healthy diet plan that includes food items from all major food categories.
Top Vegetarian Weight Loss Food Categories
Vegetables: Include a lot of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, kale and others.
These vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C and K and folate. The high fiber content in these vegetables has low calories and will help to make you full fast.
Nuts and Seeds: A vegetarian diet plan for weight loss should include nuts and seeds like flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, peanuts and brazil nuts.
Flaxseed is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acid for vegetarians. You can include flaxseed in your cereals and salads.
Even walnut, hemp and chia seeds are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
Many studies have indicated that almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts have only limited quantity of omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore it is best to have these nuts in limited quantity.
Soya, Beans And Diary Products: To meet the protein requirements of the human body it is essential that you include diary products like milk and cheese in your diet.
Soya beans and tofu are also rich in proteins and should be included in your diet. Other beans like kidney beans, black beans, broad beans, chickpeas, lentils etc should be part of the vegetarian diet for losing weight.
Cereals And Grains: This food category includes items like whole wheat, brown rice, oats, barley, semolina, porridge, corn flakes and others.
These cereals have great nutritional value because they have carbohydrate & fiber content along with vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc.
Fruits: Actually speaking, fruits would be part of any weight loss diet because they are low in calories and include vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, fructose, water and other nutrients.
Fruits help you by enhancing your energy levels and metabolism. You will also experience regulation of blood pressure and cholesterol by consuming foods regularly.
Fruits that have good fiber and water content are best suited for losing weight. This includes fruits like water melon, berries, orange, grapefruit, papaya etc.
7 Step Vegetarian Diet To Lose Weight
Step 1: You can start the day with a wholegrain like oatmeal and bran. Oatmeal is rich in fiber content and helps in reducing cholesterol and heart risk.
Oatmeal will make you feel fuller and is much better than consuming white carbohydrate like white bread or doughnuts.
Cook your lunch and dinner with olive oil and avoid butter or vegetable oil as they include saturated fats that can cause weight gain.
Step 2: Include protein sources like chickpeas, black beans, soya beans, tofu, eggs, quinoa and other lean meatless protein sources in every meal.
Protein sources like milk cheese, butter and peanut butter are high in fat content and therefore should be consumed in limited quantity only.
Diary products provide calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 and therefore you should include them in limited quantity and not avoid it totally.
If you are following the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet then you can include eggs. This will provide you protein and iron.
However you need to remember that egg yolk is high in cholesterol and therefore you should only consume egg while.
Step 3: Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables like apples, celery, carrots, watermelon, bell pepper, avocado and others. These are items rich in fiber, low in calories and high in water content. They also provide Vitamin C, A, potassium and folate.
Step 4: For snacks you can include healthy and low fat items like kale chips, roasted nuts, raspberry-apple smoothie, carrot muffins and pineapple-avocado combination.
Step 5: Foods to Avoid. Not all vegetarian diet to lose weight can be considered to be healthy and beneficial.
Items like pasta, white bread, sugary cereal, doughnuts, full fat cheese etc are all vegetarian foods but they contain saturated fats which are not recommended.
Step 6: Eat home cooked food as far as possible because restaurants may provide you vegetarian foods but they often contain a lot of oil, butter, cream, salt and other ingredients that be not very good for weight loss.
You will have the best control over the vegetarian diet to lose weight if you eat home cooked food.
A study done by John Hopkins University revealed that restaurant food tends to be calorie heavy and less nutritious compared to food prepared at home with fresh ingredients. It seems deep frying is common with restaurant food, however it is very unhealthy.
Step 7: Along with food, moderate level of exercise is also required. Research studies have indicated that vegetarian diet when combined with moderate exercises gives much better results.
Try and do body weight exercises and cardio exercises. You can easily do some body weight exercises at home everyday.
Any form of cardio like cycling, jogging, basketball, speed walking, stationary bike is good.
Is Vegetarian Diet To Lose Weight Worth It?
Without doubt, vegetarian food is low in calories and can speed up the process of weight loss. As indicated in this article, there are several other health benefits of this type of diet.
Even otherwise, more and more studies are recommending that plant based foods are best suited for human beings.
However, you should ensure that you follow a healthy vegetarian weight loss diet plan and combine it with a good workout plan.