By definition, a vegan diet is one that does not include any animal products, meaning it lacks all the good stuff like cheese, butter, milk chocolate and meats.
Logically, weight loss would be a breeze with a diet that lacks fattening foods, but many vegans find it difficult to lose weight. Vegan foods have their drawbacks, too, and can be high in fat and carbohydrates, which can do harm when consumed in large quantities.
While a healthy vegan diet may promote weight loss, many on the weight loss path go off track, getting stuck on a plateau because of the same vegan diet that is considered healthy.
Here are a few reasons why you may not be losing weight on a vegan diet:
Vegan does not mean healthy:
A vegan diet does not automatically translate to a healthy diet as it has a share of unhealthy foods. Many assume that a food is healthy because it is labeled vegan, without realizing that it may contain processed vegan foods like those found in ice creams, fries, meat-substitute burgers and pizzas, which can be loaded with calories from fat. Vegan foods can also consist of too many carbohydrates, which are not your friend if you are trying to lose weight. Choose better options like dark chocolate, raw vegetables, hummus or guacamole.
Drinking too many calories:
Water is by far the best drink you can have. But if you have to choose something else, vegan at that, there are many options like coconut water, nut milk like almond or cashew, kombucha and more. Remember to not go overboard with these because they may come with high calories and/or loads of sugar.
Eating at the wrong time:
Experts recommend eating a heavy breakfast, medium lunch and a light dinner, but if you decide to eat your heaviest meal at the end of the day, it may work against your weight loss goals. Make sure your meals are well-timed, with your largest meal being in the morning, giving the body enough time to process it.
Portion control is important regardless of the diet you follow. Just because you are eating only plant-based foods does not mean you can eat unlimited quantities. On the other hand, if you reduce your portions too much, you may not get the required amount of calories and this can negatively impact the body’s metabolism by slowing it down and restricting weight loss.
Lack of protein:
Vegetarian and vegan diets lack protein, and science backs the fact that the body needs a certain amount of proteins to maintain muscle mass and healthy metabolism. Including beans, lentils, nuts and quinoa could help you reach the daily required dose of protein, which can, in turn, amp up your metabolism.
While making the switch to veganism may be good for you and the environment, make sure you analyze the pros and cons of this lifestyle, especially if you are switching with weight loss on your mind.
Kahn, J. (2018, March 24). On A Vegan Diet But Still Struggling With Your Weight? Here’s What To Do. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/why-you-cant-lose-weight-on-a-vegan-diet
12 Mistakes to Avoid on a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegetarian-and-vegan-mistakes#section1
5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight on a Vegan Diet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.health.com/how-to-lose-weight-vegan