We can guess that you have heard about the success of people who want to lose weight and achieved it by switching to a plant-based diet.
Does veganism work in the long term outlook? Are there any “insider secrets” that you need to know to not only lose weight but also to keep it? Are there any pitfalls or associated problems that should be addressed?
What is a vegan diet?
Losing weight on veganism takes one of the first places on the list of working methods. Its meaning lies in the complete rejection of animal food with maximum purification from toxins.
First of all, the following products are excluded:
• poultry, meat, fish, eggs;
• milk and dairy products;
• coffee and strong tea;
• carbonated sweet drinks;
• fried foods, fast food.
Veganism as a way to lose weight
The vegan food system is not a diet (it is a lifestyle), but it can contribute to weight loss and healing the body by replacing heavy and fatty foods, sweets and starchy foods with complex carbohydrates (cereals), fiber (vegetables) and natural sugar (fruits). But the crucial role in losing weight, like with any diet, is played by a calorie deficit, the removal of water from the body, and the consumption of muscle mass, in fact, protein, which is not enough for it and which is used to generate energy. The latter is extremely harmful to the body.
What to eat on a vegan diet?
Add a large number of vegetables to your diet, cooked in any way, cereals, legumes, soy products – milk, meat, cottage cheese, and tofu. Avoid sweets, alcohol, coffee and fast food. You can eat food only with the mark “Vegan” – this means that no substances of animal origin were used in the production. The menu for the day may look like this:
• Breakfast: rice porridge in water/soy or coconut milk with dried fruits, raisins and nuts;
• Lunch: vegetable salad seasoned with vegetable oil, vegetable puree soup, carrot;
• Dinner: vegetable salad with oil, buckwheat porridge with tofu, potato pancakes;
• During the day, it is recommended to drink at least 1.5–2 liters of water, green tea, fruit drinks, freshly squeezed juices are allowed too. As a snack, you can eat nuts, fruits, vegan bread, etc.
It’s better to follow a vegan diet for no more than a month – otherwise, you should include complexes of vitamins and minerals in the diet.
Pros and Cons of Veganism
Scientists talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this method of nutrition. According to an Oxford study, in which participated more than 60,000 people, vegans get a huge amount of saturated fatty acids with food – about 5% of the total number of calories (it is estimated that this figure should not exceed 10%). The same study found that vegans have the highest intake of vitamins B1, B9, C and E, as well as magnesium, but their diet does not have enough Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A and D, the most important vitamin B12 for the body as well as calcium and zinc. A lack of calcium, vitamin D and a large number of acid in fruits also leads to demineralization of bones, which subsequently threatens osteoporosis, especially for women. Reducing the amount of iron received from food can lead to anemia and harm the nervous system up to abnormal neurological and mental symptoms, including ataxia, psychosis, disorientation, mood disorders, and concentration. All this proves that an additional intake of vitamins is indispensable.
Not everyone knows that if you eat vegetable protein (which is absorbed twice as bad as an animal), the body will suffer from a lack of 8 main amino acids that we get only with food. To make up for their deficiency, it is necessary, firstly, to carefully compile the diet, and secondly, not to neglect dietary supplements. A large amount of fruit means a large amount of fructose, that is, sugar, which almost immediately turns into fat. With a deficiency of protein from food, the body begins to expand internal reserves – muscle mass is reduced, especially if you do not play sports. It turns out that the weight is losing, the person looks slim, but in reality, he is skinny fat: the muscles lack tone and elasticity.
It’s not easy to switch from meat and dairy products to eating soy substitutes for animal products. But this is optional. It’s quite normal sometimes to eat soy products if they are organic and do not contain GMOs and if you are a vegetarian who is not overweight. But for those who want to get rid of excess body fat, this is not an ideal option. Many of the meat and milk substitutes are high fat and sodium foods that will not benefit your weight loss efforts. It is much better to learn how to cook a variety of vegan dishes on your own from the very beginning. Do not be afraid of whole grains. Some exotic diets exclude bread and cereals completely, but whole grains contain the nutrients we need, such as B vitamins.
There is a significant difference between consuming goods that contain refined grains and using whole grains. They are not equivalent. Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates that are useful for the body and which our cells use to produce energy; they are digested more slowly, supplying the body with low doses of glucose. This helps maintain blood sugar levels, which in turn contributes to weight loss. Also, whole grains contain important nutrients we need.
Try different types of cereals and see what effect they have. Avoid eating simple carbohydrates (white rice or pasta). Whole-grain foods (for example, brown rice or pasta) are more nutritious, wholesome and stimulate weight loss.
Veganism implies compliance with not only food rules, but also ethical ones. Going vegan should be a conscious choice. But if you have a goal – to lose weight with the help of such a diet, then, of course, you can try.