Vegan For Health and Weight Loss: Yes Or No?

Vegan For Health and Weight Loss: Yes Or No?
Vegan For Health and Weight Loss: Yes Or No?

Vegan For Health and Weight Loss: Yes Or No? It comes as no surprise that vegan is rapidly becoming one of the most popular dietary trends today due to society’s constant aspiration to make the world a better place. Though, many who undertake this diet do so for personal reasons, such as improving their health, losing weight, or both.

In light of this, today, we will explain what the diet entails, its pros and cons for health and if the diet is worth pursuing in reach of an ideal body weight.

The vegan diet

The vegan diet is a diet that incorporates plant-based foods and consists of food groups like vegetables, nuts, fruits, and seeds.

There is research showing the benefits of going vegan for health. For instance, a 2019 study evaluated the health between those who weren’t vegans or vegetarians and those who were and demonstrated that for every 1,000 participants in the trial, vegans and vegetarians had ten fewer cases of heart disease.

In comparison, a 2003 study found that people who ate meat tended to have the unhealthiest BMIs while vegans were found to have the healthiest.

On the other hand, there can be downfalls of this diet, too, which are not talked about as much as they should be given vegan’s acclaim.

Take the nutrient intake that is often limited due to the restrictiveness of the diet, which is essential for optimal health, for example, including vitamin B12, protein, vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin D insufficiency can impact health as it can result in lower red blood cells, which are vital as they transport oxygen around the body for various essential bodily processes.

A lack of protein can reduce metabolism and satiety and limit the preservation of muscle mass while cutting the extra pounds.

Vitamin D is important for bone, teeth and muscle health.

Like vitamin D, calcium is also crucial for bone health while further is needed for the highest nerve and muscle function.

Iron helps immunity, brain function, transfer oxygen around the blood, and is beneficial for healthy nails, skin, and hair.

And finally, omega-3 fatty acids are advantageous for the brain, hormonal balance, immunity, nerves and vision.

Its important to note that you can indeed get enough of these nutrients from a vegan diet and supplementation, but it is imperative that you are aware of which exact types of plant-based foods/supplements you need to be consuming, as well as how much, in order to make sure the diet doesn’t do the opposite of one of its main advantages, improving health. 

When it comes to weight loss, as demonstrated above from vegan’s and vegetarian’s inclination to have a healthier BMI than those who eat meat, vegan can be helpful in this regard. This is because you’ll consume fewer calories at each meal due to having plant-based foods rather than animal-sourced foods.

And if you are on the go and running short on time, consider a vegan meal replacement shake. These are very healthy for meal replacement, and not too many calories. So they’ll still align well with your weight loss goals. And they are also quite delicious, so a really great all-around option!

Conclusion

So, what is our verdict on the vegan diet? Well, to be frank, when undertaking the diet for only health and weight loss purposes, it is not the best approach. The reason being is that since the diet is so restrictive, it enhances the likelihood of weight cycling (yo-yo dieting). This means that although you could lose a lot initially, the unsustainability of the diet could lead you to resort to old eating habits eventually and gain back everything you lost. Remember, weight loss is not the primary goal, but weight loss AND weight maintenance thereafter, which requires a dietary regimen that you can stick to over a long time.

We can derive some of the benefits from a vegan diet highlighted in this post by just taking more vegetables, seeds, fruits, and nuts at each meal without cutting whole food groups altogether.

As always, if you do decide to undertake a new diet for health and/or weight loss purposes, always speak to your family doctor first. 

 

 

Author :

Colm Diver has a MSc in Weight Management from the University of Chester. With a passion for nutrition and previous experience working in Ireland, the UK and Canada, Colm uses his knowledge and skills to help people achieve their ideal weight via counselling, personalised diet plans, health promotion and exercise and nutrition education. You can visit him at www.platoweightmanagement.com.

 

 

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