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Will Going Vegan Help Me Lose Weight?

People have tried every kind of restriction diet to lose weight from ditching carbs, to going completely gluten-free, to going all-out vegan. Not eating meat, dairy products, eggs, and honey can definitely offer you a healthier diet since it's so low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but will it offer the quick results you want to see on the scale?

A vegan diet isn't an automatic free ticket to weight loss. Vegans may avoid high-calorie foods such as cheeseburgers, ice cream, buttery pastries, and eggs Benedict, but if they stuff themselves with loads of pasta, bread, french fries, dairy-free chocolate, and nuts, they'll end up gaining weight, not losing it. That's not to say a person can't slim down by eating a vegan diet — it's a matter of going about it the right way.

Meals and snacks should include a balanced variety of fruits and veggies, vegan sources of protein like beans and soy products, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. When avoiding meat or dairy products, it's important to pay special attention to your daily amount of protein, iron, and B12 to ensure your body is getting what it needs nutritionally. And in order to see that scale budge, as with any diet, you also need to watch your portion sizes and count calories. You can eat salad for every meal, but if it's smothered in Goddess dressing, an entire diced avocado, sliced almonds, croutons, Craisins, and Daiya cheese, you won't be any closer to zipping up those new skinny jeans.

Coupled with your balanced vegan diet, you'll see faster results by including 30 minutes of daily exercise, limiting your alcohol intake to one drink or fewer a day, and most importantly, remember that just because a food is vegan doesn't mean it's healthy or low in calories. Hundreds of companies make vegan versions of just about everything from pepperoni pizza to cupcakes to cheesecake, so just like their non-vegan counterparts, indulge in them wisely.

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stilllearning2b stilllearning2b 5 years
The same article could be written by replacing "vegan" with "gluten free."  Many people eliminate gluten to try to lose weight.  If you use that to encourage a more plant-based diet, it can be an effective strategy.  However, if you simply turn to the gluten free cookies, it will not help.  A label can help some people be mindful about what they put in their mouths, but a label alone will not induce weight loss.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Great post, DanielKVegan. I lost 15 pounds after switching to a vegetarian diet from an omni one because I used to eat lots of meat and dairy (both of which are usually high in fat, calories, and cholesterol, not to mention hormones and antibiotics). I started eating meat substitutes, avoided most animal products, and the pounds started dropping. As Daniel said, it's not a fad, it's a lifestyle. Focus on whole foods like beans, lentils, quinoa, fruits, and veggies and you'll not only look better, but feel better. Step outside your comfort zone with veggies, try something new. One more suggestion: Appetite for Reduction cookbook. Mango BBQ Beans *drools*
Beaner Beaner 6 years
I became vegan in college for moral reasons and ended up gaining a lot of weight. That's because I was eating tons of pasta, french fries, bread, non-dairy ice cream, and hardly any fruits or veggies. Then I learned more about how to be a healthier vegan, so when I started eating more salads, roasted veggies, and soy products, the weight started coming off. So I'd agree - being vegan definitely didn't equal weight loss for me.
ticamorena ticamorena 6 years
I must be lucky because the more meat/fish I eat, the more weight I lose - however, I have ethical (and health!) qualms with eating the amount of meat necessary to maintain this high protein weight loss. I find that the more meat I eat, the fewer carbohydrates and sweet things I consume as meat is very filling/satiating. I love simple roasted, braised, grilled meats without sauces etc where you really taste that meaty flavour and with a side of a fresh salad and crudites / roast veg - YUM!! I cannot comment on veganism though, I think I'd get fat fast because I don't find carbohydrates satisfying and it'd be unhealthy for me to live on vegetables and seeds/nuts alone.
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 6 years
This question always frustrates me a little, because while many people do lose weight on a vegan diet, I don't believe it's a "quick fix" for a weight problem. I'm not 100% vegan but I do try to eat this way at home in order to reap the health benefits, and I've actually gained a bit of weight from it because I believe it's made me less rigid with my food choices and less obsessed with my weight in general. Which is not a bad thing! There are several good reasons to go vegan, and health is one of them, but I don't think it should be seen as a fad diet!
DanielKVegan DanielKVegan 6 years
Veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet fad. It's about a reverence for life; about doing the least amount of harm. It's a dedication to compassion and non-violence. That includes all products you use and consume, not just who you put in your mouth. Stop eating fatty foods and get outside and exercise if you want to lose weight. If you want to reduce the amount of suffering and death in the world, and live a compassionate, peaceful life that respects the lives of others, go vegan. :)
VeJo VeJo 6 years
I've been a vegan for seven years, and initially didn't lose weight (too excited about all the baking options I hadn't known I would have). I did lose a lot of weight, however (and healthily) by reading Joel Fuhrman's book Eat to Live, which I heartily recommend.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 6 years
To echo what others are saying, the vegans I've known have gone in one of two directions; they've either gained weight because they're overcompensating with lots of pasta, nuts, etc. or they've lost weight because they're not properly supplementing and are essentially starving themselves. My brother-in-law lost so much weight he had to make not one but two notches in his belt - you could also see his ribs, was exhausted all the time, looked gaunt and had constant headaches because he had neither educated himself on the proper diet nor did he have the money to support buying both vegan and organic. It's about BALANCE. You admitted that you weren't working out and eating what you wanted - if you're only a little too big for your dress, get up and moving and cut out the crap food and you'll be fine. If you have to, hang your dress up (or a picture of it, if you're afraid of getting it dirty) where you'll see it every day. Buy a bracelet that reminds you of your dress (maybe a bracelet you plan on wearing with it?) on your dominant hand so that when you look at it, you can be reminded to make the right choices.
jesikah85 jesikah85 6 years
When I first went vegan a few years ago I started to gain a little weight. I was living on peanut butter and crackers daily, and a lot of it!
jod0143 jod0143 6 years
I have been vegan for 3+ years and while I currently maintain a normal weight, when I first turned vegan I lost weight simply because I wasn't educated on what to eat. I would have a fruit smoothie for breakfast, basic salad for lunch, and whatever I could cook myself that I thought was vegan for dinner. After learning what I could and could not eat, I found out about vegan ice cream, frozen foods, and prepared foods that I try to stay away from because as stated above, these can be just as bad nutrition-wise as their animal-based counterparts. I agree with @onlysourcherry and fit on this one.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I'm a vegetarian of a decade plus, and even I agree that making this type of lifestyle change will not surely result in weight loss. In fact, when many people go vegan they end up gaining some weight (although not much) because they are eating more to compensate for the lack of meat (which is a habit thing, not a health thing). In my opinion, the only reason to go vegan is for ethical reasons, not for health.
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