Eating a plate of plant-based foods may appear to be a simple method to lose weight and get back into your tiny clothes. Plants, after all, are primarily made up of water and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Don’t be deceived, though: plant-based diets follow the same basic principles as other eating patterns. “You’ll gain weight if you don’t burn off more calories than you consume,” says Kristin Gustashaw, an advanced clinical nutritionist at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.
What does it Mean to Eat a Plant-Based Diet?
Vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, and unsaturated oils are part of a plant-based diet. Fish and other shellfish, poultry, dairy products (eggs or cheese), and tiny amounts of lean red meat are all part of the eating pattern.
Plant-based eating is prevalent in many diets. Different traits identify them. For instance:
A vegetarian diet does not include meat or other animal products, and there are numerous varieties. A pescatarian diet, for example, includes seafood; a Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet allows dairy products; and a vegan diet forbids all animal products, including butter, eggs, and mayonnaise.
A Mediterranean diet favors seafood as a protein source and regularly includes tiny amounts of olive oil. Red wine in small amounts is also recommended. This is a well-studied dietary regimen linked to increased longevity and a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The Flexitarian diet is a vegetarian eating pattern that allows for the consumption of burgers on occasion. There are also calorie limits for each meal on the regimen.
The Nordic diet contains a lot of fish and locally obtained, whole, organic foods. It emphasizes canola oil over olive oil.
According to the evidence, all of these diets are linked to weight loss. However, this does not guarantee that they will work for you.
“Any intervention that does not focus on calorie reduction will not result in weight loss.” According to Colleen Tewksbury, a registered dietitian and bariatric program manager at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, “just eating fruits and vegetables and increasing healthy fat consumption hasn’t consistently proved that it leads to weight loss over time.”
Some Common Reasons for Gaining Weight on a Vegan Diet
You’re concentrating on high-calorie carbs.
You are a vegan or vegetarian who eats too little protein.
You’re not in charge of your portions.
You’re missing out on essential nutrients.
Continue reading to learn more about each one and how to avoid weight gain when going vegan or vegetarian.
The first reason is that you’re concentrating on high-calorie carbohydrates.
It’s still feasible to have a bagel with a soy Frappuccino in the morning, vegan cheese pizza for lunch, and a large bowl of pasta with cheese-free pesto for dinner, and still avoid eating meat! Unless you’re training for an Olympic 10,000-meter race, that eating regimen will quickly gain weight.
This isn’t because carbs make you acquire weight, and Carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. Whole-grain carbs are embraced by plant-based diets, whether they are vegan or incorporate animal products. Let me also let you in on a little secret: vegetables and fruits are carbs. Even though carbs make up the majority of vegan and vegetarian cuisine, carbs should not be the focus of every meal.
You’re not getting enough protein in your diet.
One of the most difficult aspects of a meatless diet is getting adequate protein. Getting a protein source that isn’t also calorie-dense is a harder difficulty. Beans and peanut butter are two of vegans’ most popular protein sources. To reach the recommended 20 grams of protein every meal, you’d have to consume 300 calories from beans and 500 calories from peanut butter… That doesn’t consider the calories in the things you’re eating with them. 20 grams of protein from shrimp or chicken, on the other hand, are just 100 and 150 calories, respectively.
But why is a protein needed in the first place? It’s crucial because, as previously said, meat-free diets can be carb-heavy if not properly planned. While carbs have their purpose, they don’t stay in your stomach for long, so you’ll be eyeing those vegan snickerdoodles quickly after a full meal.
On the other hand, protein will make you feel filled for longer and help you avoid overeating. I advocate nibbling on protein-dense items like wheat crackers with peanut butter and a glass of soy milk or even complementing your meals with a vegan protein shake on the side.
You’re a scumbag. Vegetarian or Vegan
Plant-based meats and desserts are ubiquitous, from Impossible burgers to vegan mayo to vegan doughnuts, thanks to the vegan fad spreading like wildfire. However, just because these foods are made from plants does not mean you can eat them anytime you want. Non-meat eaters, like everyone else, should enjoy snacks and desserts in moderation, whether they are plant-based or not. Plant-based junk food is still junk food.
In the end, these foods may still have additional sugars, processed ingredients, and additives and be deficient in vitamins and minerals. If you eat these items too frequently, your health and weight may suffer. I recommend not to overlook the “plant” portion of “plant-based”! Fruits and vegetables are usually better than processed vegan equivalents, so use them in some good old-fashioned home cooking. Get an excellent vegetarian cookbook or conduct some study to develop new ways to produce healthy meatless foods at home.
You don’t have control over your portions.
Many individuals believe they may eat as much as they want since vegan foods like bagels, starchy veggies, nuts, and nut kinds of butter are viewed as “healthy for you.” This could not be further from the truth; regardless of what foods you choose to eat or avoid, you should always be in control of how much you consume.
No matter where the calories come from, eating more than your body requires will always gain weight. Avocados, seeds, hummus, and nut butter are high in plant fats and contribute significantly to daily calorie intake. Yes, these meals are nutritious, but they must be portioned to avoid overeating. Also, alcohol is not made from flesh.
You’re Deficient in Important Nutrients
When you eliminate animal products from your diet without proper planning, you run the danger of vitamin shortages. Iron and B-12 are abundant in animal products, but they can be scarce in a vegan or vegetarian diet. Lack of iron and B-12 might result in fatigue and low energy, leading to less exercise and a slower metabolism. This can make controlling your weight more challenging.
What’s the bottom line? If you choose to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, planning and arranging your meals is essential. This ensures that your meals are balanced with the proper macronutrient ratio, that you’re getting all of the vitamins your body requires, and that you’re not overindulging in calorie-dense plant-based foods.
Without supervision, diving into this method of eating for weight loss can be very tough to succeed, so seek out a nutritionist to assist you with any diet changes! Keep in mind the following common reasons for weight gain on a plant-based diet. Check out my weight reduction programme if you need more help or expert advice with a personalized weight loss strategy.
Is it True that Going Vegan Helps you Lose Weight?
Back to the original question: if you’re having trouble losing weight on a plant-based diet, you might question whether “being vegan helps you lose weight” or if it’s all a ruse.
This is not a ruse. Vegans, on average, have a lower BMI than their omnivore counterparts. However, it’s crucial to remember that excluding animal products does not guarantee weight reduction (or that you’re eating healthy).
Consider this: Oreos are vegan! So it’s as much about what you put on your plate as what you leave off.
If you still need to lose weight to be healthier and stronger, there are usually three reasons for your plant-based diet weight loss plateau or even weight gain on a vegan diet.
Why a Vegan Diet Might Make you Eat More Calories?
I had no idea what I would eat when I went vegan overnight.
I was a typical athlete who consumed meat at every meal and consumed most of my calories.
I, like many others, turned to pre-packaged vegan cuisine.
These are typically high in calories and not particularly healthful.
If you’ve been eating a lot of these “junk foods” since becoming vegan and didn’t consume many processed foods before, that could be the root of your difficulties.
Underestimating calorie intake is the second possible cause.
You’re probably eating many different meals than you’re used to.
You’ll find that nuts and seeds contain a surprising quantity of calories.
If you eat 3-4 slices of peanut butter toast, you’ll easily consume 1,000 calories if the peanut butter is thickly spread.
If you’re a smaller person who doesn’t do much, that could already be three-quarters of your TDEE.
If this is a concern for you, keep track of your calories for a few weeks. Use a vegan meal tracking app to figure out how many calories you’re consuming.
Why a Vegan Diet Might Burn Fewer Calories?
Have you cut back on your exercise since being vegan? This should be a simple question to answer.
It’s customary to feel more alienated from your usual social circles and attend fewer events than usual. As a result, there is less activity, and calories are burned.
It’s also usual for beginning vegans to become exhausted due to a few common blunders. This may make you less likely to go to the gym or engage in other forms of exercise.
Finally, you will likely burn 100-200 fewer calories because you consume less protein on a vegan diet.
Protein has a thermogenic impact; breaking it down requires more energy. Protein calories are lost at a rate of roughly 30%.
So if you were a vegan who had 150 grams of protein before and now consumes 80, the difference is 70 grams or 280 raw calories of protein. As a result, you will burn around 85 fewer calories per day.
It would take a long time to result in weight growth, but it is feasible. Even though it’s unlikely to be the source of your problems, I noted it for completeness.
What are Some Tips that Must be Followed to Avoid Weight Gain?
Get rid of the fake meat substitutes
You may have noticed an increase in the number of items that “look like meat” on grocery shelves. These may have a meaty flavour, but they’re usually highly processed and contain additional sugars, fillers, binders, refined carbohydrates, sodium, and GMO soy or isolated soy protein powder.
Try conventional soy products like tempeh or tofu instead of a plant-based chicken burger or mince. These will provide you with enough protein and vitamins without the added calories. What about a burger? Make your own from scratch with whole foods!
Vegan junk food should be avoided
Just because something is labelled vegan doesn’t guarantee it’s healthy! Sorry, but you won’t be able to eat much vegan ice cream, biscuits, or french fries without suffering the repercussions.
Vegan junk food can be found in supermarkets and cafés, but they often include the same amount of processed sugar, carbohydrates, and fats as its traditional counterparts. And as many, if not more, more calories, implying weight gain if consumed daily.
Gaining weight on a vegan diet is similar to gaining weight on any other diet: you consume more calories than you burn. This is most likely caused by the following on a vegan diet: Being cut off from the activities you normally participate in. Too much reliance on manufactured vegan foods. You’re underestimating the calories of foods you’re unfamiliar with.
If you’re certain none of these are to blame, it’s probably a good idea to see a doctor because you could be one of the few people who have a medical condition that causes weight gain.