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Will a vegetarian diet help me lose weight?

To be a veggie or to not be a veggie, that is the question?!

Many people have the mistaken idea that adopting a vegetarian diet plan will help them lose weight. This is not the case, the only way to lose weight is to follow a calorie controlled diet plan, reducing your calories and moving a little more! However, research shows that individuals following a vegetarian diet consume fewer calories on average and therefore have a slightly lower BMI than their omnivorous counterparts.

Since no meat is consumed, a vegetarian diet typically has less saturated fat and the emphasis is on more fruit and veg, wholegrains and plant-based protein. These food products have lower calories and a higher fibre content which will help keep you fuller for longer.  There is plenty of scientific evidence that shows that increasing your fruit, veg and wholegrain consumption can help decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.  

So that’s it! Based on this information it seems that we should all be following a vegetarian diet, not only for a slimmer physique but for health reasons as well! Before you all rush to the supermarket and fight over the last ripe avocado or the kale on sale, it is important to note that vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice and not a weight loss diet! Yes, it can be healthier and help you lose weight if it is well-planned and nutritionally balanced, there is no doubt about that, but so can a non-veggie diet! Even though a veggie diet can help you avoid certain higher calorie foods such as sausages, bacon and burgers, there are still lots of tempting high calorie and unhealthy foods that are vegetarian. Donuts, biscuits, chocolate and crisps, just to name a few! if you have a badly constructed vegetarian diet and include large portions of these energy-dense and micronutrient-poor foods, there are no health advantages. You may even risk nutritional deficiencies and you are likely to pack on the pounds! 

If you follow a vegetarian diet and you are trying to lose weight, make sure that you are carefully planning your meals and snacks and are choosing the right foods and portion sizes. Ideally try to include a protein source in each meal. Good sources of protein include skimmed milk, fat-free yogurt or Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs and egg white, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes and tofu. Try to choose unsaturated fats but remember that although they are healthy fats, they are still very high in calories so portion control will be key to lose weight. Saturated fats such as those found in butter and cheese increase the “bad” cholesterol in your blood, so make sure you try to limit them where possible. 

Here is an example of a delicious healthy vegetarian sample diet:

Breakfast: 2 small wholegrain toasts with a poached egg, tomato, mushroom and spinach

Lunch:  Fresh spinach, rocket and basil salad with low-fat mozzarella, tomato, ½ a small avocado, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and drizzled with a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Dinner: Stuffed peppers with brown rice or quinoa, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, spring onions and low-fat feta or halloumi cheese

Snacks: crudités 

And if this sounds too hard, why not try the Jane Plan Vegetarian Plan? We do all the hard work for you by creating vegetarian diet meals delivered to your home!

In conclusion, if you are on a vegetarian diet, and you cut down on your calorie intake and make healthy choices, you will lose weight, but vegetarianism doesn’t guarantee weight loss. Weight loss is a matter of burning more calories that you take in so regardless of what eating plan you follow, you will need to create a calorie deficit to see results. To lose weight at the recommended 1 to 2lbs a week, you must cut 500 to 1000 calories from your diet respectively. Exercise can also help contribute toward a caloric deficit. 

Happy munching and crunching those veggies! 

PS Just in case you need some help understanding more about vegetarianism, vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish so their diet consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, eggs and dairy products. There are many different types of vegetarians; the majority – the ovo-lacto-vegetarians – include milk products and eggs in their diet. Vegans are stricter and do not eat any animal products. 

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