How To Follow A Plant
Looking for a plant-based diet for weight loss? A dietitian weighs in
If you are looking for an effective way to slim down, its worth considering a plant-based diet for weight loss. Scientists are increasingly convinced that vegetarian and vegan diets may be a particularly effective approach in the fight against obesity, as stated in a review recently published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine .
There are several reasons why carefully planned vegan and vegetarian diets may help you drop a size or two. To start with, the basic principle of weight loss is a calorie deficit, and plant foods tend to have low calorie density. They are also rich in dietary fiber. Fiber keeps your appetite in check and regulates your blood sugar levels. Vegan and vegetarian diets may also have a beneficial impact on our gut health and inflammation levels two factors that may contribute to excess body weight.
At the same time, not every diet based on fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can help you shed unwanted pounds with ease. To maximize the fat burning potential of your vegan or vegetarian diet, certain tweaks may be necessary. Here, we discuss how to follow a plant-based diet for weight loss to get the best possible results, with tips from registered dietitian Rosie Martin.
Protein Per Egg: 6 Grams
With 6 grams of protein a pop, eggs are an ideal food for vegetarians and omnivores alike who want to stay swimsuit-ready all year round. Their protein fuels your muscles, boosts metabolism and keeps hunger under control, aiding weight loss. Eggs are also one of the most nutrient-filled vegetarian protein sources around. “Eggs contain a host of health-promoting and flat-belly nutrients including choline, a major fat-burning nutrient that also plays an important role in brain health,” says Consalvo.
Eat This! Eggs can anchor a breakfast, slide into a sandwich at lunch, beef up a dinnertime salad, or even serve as a protein-filled snack on their own.
Benefits Of The Vegetarian Diet For Weight Loss
Vegetarian diets can be twice as effective for weight loss as carnivorous diets. This is what researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC found in this study.
There is another study with co-authors from the Harvard School of Public Health indicating that vegetarian diets seem to have significant benefits on weight loss compared to non-vegetarian diets.
And these researchers from the Loma Linda University in California found in a group of more than 60.000 people that vegetarians had less body fat than non-vegetarians. This indicates in their eyes that vegetarianism has substantial potential to protect against obesity.
That is really awesome news! But you know how it is with studies. One says this, another says that.
Here is why the vegetarians in this study were so successful:
On a healthy vegetarian diet you emphasize more on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins. At the same time you avoid many high calorie food groups, most importantly processed foods like canned soups or frozen pizzas. By the way, this is also what the researchers in the studies above think.
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What Is A Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, and poultry.
Some people may follow this diet for religious or ethical reasons, while others are drawn to its possible health benefits.
The main types of vegetarian diets are:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: allows eggs and dairy but excludes meat, fish, and poultry
- Lacto-vegetarian: allows dairy but excludes eggs, meat, fish, and poultry
- Ovo-vegetarian: allows eggs but excludes dairy, meat, fish, and poultry
- Vegan: excludes all animal products, including honey, dairy, and eggs
Other plant-based eating patterns include the flexitarian and pescatarian diets.
Vegetarian diets typically focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in fiber, micronutrients, and beneficial plant compounds, and tend to be lower in calories, fat, and protein than animal foods.
Since this diet emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, its linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure (
However, the benefits of vegetarianism largely depend on the types of foods you eat and your overall dietary habits.
Overeating or choosing too many highly processed foods will provide fewer benefits than a diet based on unrefined, whole plant foods and may have several downsides.
A vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry and mostly focuses on plant foods. It has been linked to weight loss and a reduced risk of chronic diseases, but these benefits depend on which foods you eat.
How Do You Get High Protein On A Vegan Diet
One of the best ways that you can up your protein intake on a vegan diet is to start a love affair with smoothies. There are many vegetables that are high in protein, beans, quinoa, pulses, nuts and seeds and so on can have a high amount of protein in them.
You should choose a few of the above and rotate them in your diet on a regular basis, so as to get plenty of variety but plenty of protein in your diet.
Having the same thing on repeat will likely result in you getting bored with it, so rotating the vegetables you use for your protein will prevent you from getting bored with any one particular food.
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Protein Improves Heart Health
Higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure levels. This lowers the risk of strokes and heart attacks. In a review of 40 controlled trials, it was found that a higher intake of the nutrient lowered systolic blood pressure by a reading of 1.76 mm of Hg, and diastolic blood pressure by a reading of 1.15 mm of Hg.
Besides lowering blood pressure, it has been found that a protein-rich diet can also lower LDL levels in the body.
Vegan Protein Meal Plan For Women
We will use the example of an American woman within the average weight range, looking to lose a bit of weight and get more in shape.
When you start out in the mornings, you want a breakfast that is tasty. For your breakfast, we recommend something that will keep you going through the day.
For this, you want something high in energy. This is often why people will often start the day with a banana. If you dont fancy a banana, you could prep the night before to start your day with a 200 Calorie protein mango smoothie!
This will give you a great protein-based kick for the day!
Obviously, you do not want to be having the same lunch every day, so it is good to mix it up. You may want to alternate throughout the week. Have one thing Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and another thing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Or you could split your week in half!
For lunch, we recommend an Oil-Free Curried Lentil Hummus, to give you the protein from those lentils, have a nice slice of bread and enjoy. This is a great lunch for the week. At the weekend, though. Why not treat yourself to a Loaded Vegan Bacon Sandwich?
At the end of the day, you want something a bit bigger, around 6pm. For a larger meal, we recommend Chili Glazed Tofu, which is great for those who are allergic or intolerant to gluten as well!
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Eating Too Many Refined Carbs
Foods that are high in refined carbs, such as bread, pizza, and pasta, can be easy to overeat on a vegetarian diet.
Theyre widely available and may sometimes be the only vegetarian options at restaurants or gatherings.
Foods rich in refined carbs tend to lack fiber and do not curb hunger as much as whole-grain, complex carbs. As a result, they can load you down with excess calories .
Whats more, some studies suggest that refined carbs trigger the release of extra insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. This may also contribute to weight gain .
In fact, one study including around 500,000 adults detected a strong association between higher insulin levels after carb intake and greater body mass index .
Day 1 Of Your Vegetarian Diet Plan For Weight Loss
Breakfast: A cup of oatmeal cooked in water with honey. Or a fruit platter with apples or berries. Finish it off with lemon detox water.
Lunch: Vegetable salad bowl with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olive oil dressing, and baby spinach. And a cup of green tea at the end.
Dinner: A veg wrap with slices of tofu is a good way to start your 7-day vegetarian meal plan.
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The Weight Loss Basics
Did you know? As a rule of thumb, weight loss is about 75% diet and 25% exercise . So just by eating right, we can do loads already!
To lose weight you need to take in less calories than your body requires for maintaining its weight no matter whether these calories consist of protein, carbs or fat.
As simple as that. In reverse: if you eat more calories than your body requires, you gain weight.
In our meal plan youll also find a sheet to easily calculate your necessary calorie intake if you want to focus on calorie counting. But you dont have to with this meal plan. Here is why:
Now, what is the easiest way to turn around your calorie balance from gaining weight to losing weight?
Answer: Less highly processed foods, more whole foods. Thats it. We promise you, any serious weight loss diet is based on that fundamental rule.
Whats the problem with highly processed food? Most of them contain a lot of sugar, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients. And on top of that they are low in nutrients . On the other hand whole foods are exactly the opposite.
As a rule of thumb just by replacing most highly processed food with whole foods youll automatically move into a caloric deficit. On top of that, we made sure that the daily caloric goal on the plan is roughly 1500 kcal for women and 1800 kcal for men, which means a deficit of around 500 kcal/day for most people.
As Always The Key Is Planning
The key to all weight loss diets is planning. And because vegetarian foods are generally lower in protein, this is even more true if you’re trying to lose weight on a plant-based diet.
Plant-based foods are available everywhere and are often cheaper than animal-based foods, so if youre worried about the price of a high protein diet, this may be the way to go. Lots of people are now embracing a flexitarian diet where they limit the amount of meat the consume throughout the week.
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Benefits And Drawbacks Of A High Protein Vegetarian Diet
A diet that is sufficiently packed with all the amino acids that the body requires also allows production of high quality protein on a daily basis. But while a protein rich diet can help lose weight quickly, it can also make a person regain all that weight in no time once the person goes off that high protein trip. Another blessing with this diet is that it keeps away the nimiety of fat, toxins, and any other harmful ingredients which can bring harm upon the kidneys too. On the flip-side, too much protein can lead to osteoporosis, digestion problems, or even kidney trouble.
With changing times and changing trends, people are definitely becoming more conscious about health and weight issues, but one cannot forget that almost anything can have its repercussions. Diets and weight loss programs mostly top this list. Though if ever you would want to turn to a diet, it is recommended to first consult a doctor or a dietitian, especially because you never know if your body is cut out for every healthy diet program thats ever been thought of. One way or another, youd much rather be safe than sorry, right?
Eating Large Portions And Not Enough Protein
Eating more calories than you need can result in weight gain.
Even if youre filling up on nutritious foods on a vegetarian diet, you may be helping yourself to larger portions than necessary.
This is especially common if you skimp on protein intake.
Protein can increase fullness by decreasing levels of ghrelin, a hormone that regulates hunger, which may in turn lower your overall calorie intake and boost weight loss .
If you dont eat enough protein, you might eat more food to feel full hindering your weight loss efforts.
While your protein needs can be met easily on a vegetarian diet, you may encounter difficulties at first as you eliminate meat from your diet.
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How Did This Occur
Protein is the most satiating food group. Peptides interact with certain receptors in the gut which send satiety signals to the brain.
The brain in response stimulates the release of glucose and appetite controlling hormones to suppress hunger.
Usually, high protein diets that are studied consist of mixed meat sources which are not supported much due to its side effects on gut health.
Interestingly soy protein also serves as a great protein source that is as satiating as meat.
What does this mean?
Vegetarian protein diets especially soy protein-based diets are as satiating as meat-based diet and result in similar weight loss outcomes.
This comes as great news for vegetarians and researchers feel that it is a healthier alternative to meat-based weight loss diets.
This study busts the myth of vegetarian diets being deficient in protein and not being satiating enough.
Read the full paper here:
What To Eat On A Protein Diet
Animal proteins are first-class proteins as they provide all the essential amino acids the body can fully utilise. Fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products like curd, milk, paneer and tofu will help you meet your daily protein requirements. There are enough options for vegetarians too.
Here is a comprehensive list of foods you can include in your daily meals.
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Youre Eating Too Many Calorie
While youre on a vegetarian diet, you may turn to foods that are naturally high in fat like nuts, nut butter, seeds, avocados and coconut to keep you fuller and more satisfied. These foods are nutritious and filling. Although a little goes a long way, so calories can add up quickly.
Keeping a log of what you eat and drink can help you determine which foods are providing you extra fat and calories that could be inhibiting weight loss, says Zumpano. Consider an app to track calories or use a notebook to keep track.
Protein Per Cup: 18 Grams
If you’re an anti-meathead, you should warm up to lentils ASAP. One cup has the protein of three eggs, with less than one gram of fat! Their high fiber content makes them extremely satiating, and studies have shown that they speed fat loss: Spanish researchers found that people whose diets included four weekly servings of legumes lost more weight and improved their cholesterol more than people who didn’t.
Eat This! Toss ’em into a soupwe’ve got some awesome, high protein recipes you’re sure to love.
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Protein Per Scoop: 15 To 20 Grams
Eating veggiesand supplementing with vegan protein powder shakesis one of the best ways to burn fat. A study in Nutrition Journal found that “plant protein intakes may play a role in preventing obesity.” We love Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake, Vega Sport Performance Protein, and Sunwarrior Warrior Blend.
Drink This! Blend up one of these healthy protein shakes!
Guidelines To Follow During A High Protein Vegetarian Diet Plan
- Do include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and protein sources to fulfill your daily nutritional requirement
- You can take supplements to cover up the deficiencies of certain vitamins that may arise out of a high protein vegetarian diet plan
- Protein-rich plant foods like legumes, seeds, nuts, tofu and seitan must be part of your diet
- Drink around 6-8 ounces of water daily to keep yourself hydrated
- Dont go for packaged, processed and refined food options that are high in calories
- Always take your meals in smaller portions to avoid the risk of overeating
Weekly planner for high protein vegetarian diet plan
High protein vegetarian diet plan Oranges
Breakfast- 2 servings of mango smoothie with 2 servings of cinnamon apple bites
Snack- 1 serving of mixed greens with olive oil and lemon salad dressing and 2 oranges
Lunch- 1 cup of grapes with 2 servings of carrots with hummus
Snack- 1 serving of strawberry tofu smoothie
Dinner- 2 servings of super skinny mother noodles with 1 serving of green beans with olive oil
High protein vegetarian diet plan Strawberries
Breakfast- 2 bowls of oatmeal with 1 cup of strawberries
Snack- 2 servings of bell pepper with hummus snack and 1 serving of cucumber slices
Lunch- 2 servings of seasoned mashed chickpeas with 1 serving of spinach tomato salad
Snack- 1 cup of grapes with almonds
Dinner- 1 serving of kung pao tempeh
High protein vegetarian diet plan Rice
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Protein Per Cup: 42 Grams
The tropical highest-protein fruit, guava packs more than 4 grams per cup, along with 9 grams of fiber and only 112 calories. With 600% of your DV of Vitamin C per cup the equivalent of more than seven medium oranges! it should merengue its way into your shopping cart ASAP.
Eat This! Add guava to your morning fruit salad or enjoy it solo as a snack.
How Proteins Can Help One Lose Weight Naturally
It wouldnt be an exaggeration to claim that protein is the single most important nutrient in a persons weight loss journey. High protein vegetarian foods, among others help in boosting metabolism, reduces appetite, and changes several weight regulating hormones. Since proteins promote a sense of satiety, the hypothalamus , reduces the flow of hunger causing hormones, helping your body feel fuller, longer. Proteins help keep you satiated longer, and for people with diabetes in particular, proteins help keep blood sugars regulated.
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