Going vegan doesn’t guarantee you will lose weight
A lot of people have the idea that going vegan is all about losing weight. They perceive veganism as just another fad diet for those who want to get thin quick, without committing to an active lifestyle. But these are wrong stereotypes about vegans. Veganism isn’t synonymous with getting skinny, and it is possible to be vegan without healthy eating habits. Likewise, it is possible to maintain a nutritionally balanced vegan diet and still not lose weight.
In actuality, going vegan is simply about excluding animal products from your diet. People choose to go vegan for a variety of reasons, including health and wellness. But they may also choose a plant based diet out of respect for the lives of animals or any number of other reasons. The vegan community is as diverse as any other, and veganism should not be reduced to a weight loss tactic.
Vegans coming in all shapes and sizes
While there is research that indicates a plant based diet can reduce your caloric intake and help with weight loss, going vegan doesn’t guarantee you will be thin.1 Anyone who frequents vegan festivals can attest to the fact that not all vegan foods are healthy. Though veganism conjures to mind images of whole fruits and vegetables, there is also plenty of junk food included in a vegan feast. Eating vegan cake and cookies won’t help you lose weight, even though they’re vegan.
Some vegans may also have unhealthy personal eating habits. People following a plant based diet still need to ensure they are eating nutritionally balanced meals. Vegans are at higher risk of certain nutritional deficiencies, so it’s important to eat the right kinds of vegan foods.2
If you want to reap the health benefits of a vegan diet such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure, you must make an active effort to follow a healthy lifestyle.3
But if you DO want to lose weight, being a vegan will help
Despite the fact that a vegan diet won’t make you lose weight, it can be a helpful part of your weight loss routine. Studies have shown that plant based diets are naturally healthier than diets that include animal products, and that consumption of animal fat and proteins can increase weight gain. Therefore, losing weight as a vegan is easier than losing weight as an omnivore. If you choose to begin a vegan diet as part of your weight loss efforts, make sure to plan and prepare healthy plant-based meals.
Even though a vegan diet makes weight loss easier, simply going vegan is not enough. It is up to you to maintain healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. Weight loss takes time and work, and no diet will change that fact. But a vegan diet will help lessen the time and work involved.
1 The effects of a low-fat, plant-based dietary intervention on body weight, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity, The American Journal of Medicine.
2 Health Effects of Vegan Diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
3 Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets, The Permanente Journal.
NOTE: The The American Journal of Medicine, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and The Permanente Journal have not reviewed or approved the above article.