Vegan Diet For Weight Loss: Eat Enough Protein
What is protein? Protein is a macronutrient that is essential for growth and repair, as well as keeping us healthy. It can also help with weight loss because it boosts the metabolism and helps to keep the body full meaning less chance of snacking on junk food or giving into sugar cravings.
Most adults need around 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day. In practice, thats about two portions of meat, fish, nuts or tofu per day. As a rough guide, a portion of protein should fit into the palm of your hand.
Nutritionist Jenna Hope explains that protein helps to increase satiety, also known as your feeling of fullness. It can therefore keep you fuller for longer compared with carbohydrates and fats, she says. Additionally, protein requires more energy to break down, meaning less of the calories are absorbed.”
But do you need to eat meat to get protein? The answer is no, according to Hope.
“Protein from plant foods includes nuts, seeds, tofu and soy products, beans and pulses,” she says. There are many great dietary . And if you’re not a fan of eating protein, you can drink it in the form of a vegan shake. Vegan protein powders can be convenient ways to increase protein in the diet, adds Hope. However they are not necessary in order to obtain adequate amounts of protein. Additionally, they shouldnt replace wholefood sources of plant based protein.
New to protein powders? Check out our guide to the best vegan protein powder.
What Is A Healthy Weight
Theres no simple equation here. A healthy weight is based on the individual, and it isnt necessarily determined by the scale. There is no universal healthy weight. And usually scale weight can be dangerous as it varies significantly based on your hydration status, bowel movements, and where youre at in your menstrual cycle. Bodies are unique and can hold different amounts of weight while still being healthful , explained Whitney Stuart, MCN, RDN, CDE, and Whole30 coach.
In lieu of facing the scale, Stuart recommended looking at your total body composition. Essentially, how much of your weight is based on bone, muscle, and fat tissue. A DEXA scan or Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis is an easy way to analyze your bodys specific breakdown of muscle, bone, and fat tissue. This can help one determine if they need to lose body fat, gain muscle tissue, or improve bone density, Stuart elucidated.
Your mental health can also play a part in determining a healthy weight for you. How you feel in your body matters. Does your current weight allow you to do all the things you want to do, or do you feel hindered by it? Note: this can go both ways. Those who are underweight may struggle to perform just as those who are overweight may struggle with everyday tasks or hobbies. If you are underweight and dont have the energy to fully engage in certain activities, or risk bone fracture, that could be a sign you need to gain weight.
Make Sure Youre Getting Enough Protein
Current recommendations for protein intake are around 5.5 ounces per day, or around 0.41 grams per pound of body weight. This means a 150-pound woman should consume approximately 61 grams of protein each day. A 175-pound man should consume around 72 grams each day.
When you break this down into calories, there are about 4 calories per gram of protein. So the woman in this example would need to get 244 calories from protein each day, and the man would need to get 288 calories from protein.
Good sources of plant protein include:
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Vegan Diet Health Benefits
Clearing your diet of animal products sounds hard, but people who do it and stick with it swear it makes a difference in how healthy they feel. And theres more than just anecdotal evidence to back them up. Tons of research supports the health benefits associated with this way of eating, many of which overlap with the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
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Vegan Weight Loss Breakfasts
Bonus: vegan-friendly take on the classic
Firm tofu meets flavourful spices and luscious veggies to make the ultimate vegan breakfast, a tofu scramble. If youre searching for an egg-free alternative to the classic, youve just hit the jackpot!
Bonus: best breakfast option for those hurried weekday mornings!
A fruity vegan smoothie, packed with protein to fuel your day ahead. Love fruit and nuts? Then youll love this!
Bonus: a light vegan dinner, late afternoon snack or even a savory breakfast!
Our delicious vegan take on the trendiest cafe food of the moment, Mushrooms on Toast. The go-to dish you remember from your years as a student, now a little tastier and a lot more vegan!
Bonus: a spinach smoothie that does not taste of spinach
A super healthy yet tasty summer smoothie. You wont even realise youre eating spinach .
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Try out this delish Overnight Oats combo of blueberries, lemon, yogurt and maple syrup. You wont be disappointed!
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Vegan Breakfast Potatoes the best way to start the day. Animal-friendly, high in protein and even higher in taste? Yes please!
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Thick and full flavoured with a moreish tang. Low in calories, ready in 15 minutes and just as good as the original.
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High Fiber In Vegan Diets Has Benefits For Blood Sugar And Digestive Health Too
By slowing digestion, fiber not only staves off hunger, but also regulates how quickly your body absorbs other nutrients, including glucose from breaking down other carbohydrates. Managing glucose absorption is key for stable blood sugar levels, so fiber plays a major role in preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes.
There’s also evidence that eating plenty of fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome, the beneficial bacteria that live in your digestive system.
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Controlling The Amount Of Starch
Not all starchy foods are created equal. Refined carbohydrates have been stripped of much of what makes them so nutritious. If we switch out products made with white flour, for example such as breads, bagels, pretzels, and pasta and wherever possible choose the unrefined wholegrain versions, well be doing our health a big favor. Plus, these are more filling, so we require less to feel sated.
Who Shouldnt Use A Vegan Diet For Weight Loss
Even though the vegan diet has been linked to health benefits and some people thrive on this dietary pattern, its not the right choice for everyone.
The vegan diet cuts out all foods that include animal products. Its extremely restrictive. Just like any other diet that cuts out a number of foods, it may be difficult to stick to long-term.
If you have a history of disordered eating or experience an eating disorder, you may want to steer clear of any restrictive diet, including a vegan diet.
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What Is A Vegan Bodybuilding Diet
Bodybuilders strive to develop their musculature through intensive resistance training for aesthetic purposes.
Nutrition plays a key role in the process of muscular development. Its generally accepted that for optimal muscle growth to occur, protein intake should be rather high at around 0.71.0 grams per pound of body weight per day .
A calorie surplus of 1020% is also beneficial for gaining muscle mass, especially for those who are not brand new to training .
Traditional bodybuilding diets include a lot of animal source foods due to their high protein and calorie content.
The vegan bodybuilding diet is devoid of all animal products and higher in protein than traditional vegan diets .
This presents a challenge for bodybuilders following a vegan diet, as plant-based proteins tend to be of lower quality than their animal-based counterparts, which can affect muscle gain .
Therefore, it takes careful planning to ensure sufficient intake of protein, calories, and several micronutrients that a vegan diet may lack.
The vegan bodybuilding diet also changes during different stages of a bodybuilders life, such as whether theyre in their off-season or undergoing contest preparation, when fat loss is common.
The vegan bodybuilding diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein. It excludes all animal-based products and is usually higher in protein than a traditional vegan diet.
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How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight On A Vegan Diet
Again, this depends on your previous eating habits, your activity levels, your foods of choice, and your portion sizes. Keep in mind that everyones body is different. Some people may see weight loss in a few weeks, and for others, it takes a few months.
This all depends on your age, gender, metabolism, and many other factors that come into play for weight loss. Even though you cant control these things, if you increase your exercise and decrease your calories consumed, you will see weight loss on a vegan, plant-based diet.
Are Vegan Diets Healthful
Vegan diets eliminate many foods high in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat.
Many processed or pre-packaged foods contain animal products, so vegan diets help people to eat fresh, whole foods instead.
Research has documented a number of health benefits that have been associated with vegetarian and vegan diets, including:
- lower rates of cancer
- some meat substitutes
For more science-backed resources on nutrition, visit our dedicated hub.
The following foods can prevent nutritional deficits while helping a person feel satisfied on a vegan diet:
- Soy, quinoa, and tempeh, which are vegan sources of protein.
- Soy and almond milks, which are rich in vitamin D.
- Nuts and seeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
As with any other diet, one key to successful weight loss as a vegan is to consume fewer calories than are burned through exercise and daily activities.
To maximize weight loss and ensure good health while on a vegan diet, a person can try:
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