Does Being Vegetarian Help You Lose Weight?
When it came to my transition into veganism, I first had thought about becoming simply just vegetarian - as let's face it, I love cheese and I could not bear thinking about never eating it again (my brother's wife is also a Certified Cheese Professional and is always brings home some good stuff). Vegetarianism also contains a ton of the amazing benefits that veganism does, having evidence that shows that it can lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, blood pressure, and even death. With these benefits, it is quite easy to see the popularity it has over those who choose more of a meat-based diet. When it comes to veganism and vegetarianism, there is even been studies proving that those who choose this diet are more likely to weigh less than those who eat meat. In unpacking this, I wonder if that was simply because those people are actually eating less or if they were maintaining a healthier diet. In doing my research, this is what I had discovered in question where being vegetarian can help you lose weight?
What The Studies Are Saying
In a 2010 study performed by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that meat intake may be related to weight gain because of its high energy and fat content. Within the study, a total of 103,455 men and 270,348 women that ranged in age from anywhere from 25 to 70 were recruited between 1992 and 2000 in 10 European countries. Their diets were assessed at baseline with the use of country-specific questionnaires. For the study, researchers have found that after adjusting the meat intake of the participants, in which they began eating 250 kilograms of meat per day, lead to increases in weight by 2 kilograms over 5 years.
In another study performed by Harvard researchers for the Journal of General Internal Medicine, it was found that most vegetarians and vegans weighed less than their meat-eating counterparts. The researchers went through 12 studies conducted with a population of 1,151 participants. Out of the participants, randomized samples were created in which the participants would take part of a vegetarian, vegan, or meat-eating diet. Each study lasted about 4 months or 18 weeks. It was found that vegetarians lost 4.4 pounds more than non-vegetarians, and vegans lost 5.5 pounds more than non-vegetarians.
When it comes to vegetarianism, generally speaking, they tend to weigh less than omnivores. A 2015 analysis of 15 studies released by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had found that in going for a plant-based diet such as vegetarianism or veganism can lead to weight-loss, without calorie tracking or exercise.
How To Safely Go Vegetarian
When it comes to vegetarianism, one can argue that giving up meat alone can be beneficial for weight loss. After all, meat is higher in saturated fats, cholesterol, calories than most plants, while they are also void in filling fibers and disease-fighting nutrients that these plants often contain. Naturally, eating less meat and other foods just in general will be beneficial for you!
But this brings me to my next point, just because you are giving up meat doesn't mean that you are approaching vegetarianism healthily. Going vegetarian doesn't mean you will automatically be healthy - you can get in your head and argue that the pizza you eat, the cookies you consume, or the ice-cream you sneak are all vegetarian and you are being "healthy," but in reality you may be eating poorer than you did before. It is essential when you approach your diet to include nutrient-packed whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, soy, seeds, and whole grains.
When it comes to vegetarianism, you also need to be aware that your body will need more carbohydrates as you will not be receiving as much as you would be when eating meat. If most of your carbs come from refined grains, that will not make the cut! Think about packing your diet full of options that are higher in fibers and are made out of smarter carbohydrates. For example, try making roasted sweet potatoes and spicy beans rather than having bread, rice, or even couscous.
For protein, looks for options such as vegetables, legumes, nuts, or even soy that come packed with natural proteins that are even more rich in nutrients than that of meat. Look for vegetables such as brussel sprouts, sprouting broccoli, asparagus, or spinach, fruits like guava, jackfruit, blackberries, or kiwi, or nuts like almonds, pistachios, or cashews for example to be sure you are making the most out of your diet.
While reducing your meat intake and become vegetarian may be a daunting task, know that it is getting easier and easier every day with more restaurants, grocery stores, and markets becoming more in trend to these diets. Share with us whether you were surprised by these facts or not by following us on Instagram @itouchwearables and Facebook @itouchwearables and by dropping a comment and like. Also, be sure to check out our new articles published daily!