The Vegan Diet: An Introduction

The vegan diet is an entirely plant based diet, which in other words means that products that contain animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy are not consumed at all. Research suggests that people who are following vegan diet are tending to have a lower body mass index (BMI). This indicates that vegan diet aids with weight loss, also people who are vegan are more likely to make weight-conscious decisions.

Some studies have examined the effect of different diets such as vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous diet on weight loss. The results concluded that the group of people on vegan diet lost the more weight compared to other diets and also their saturated fats consumption has decreased.  Another study examined vegan and vegetarian diets, which has shown that plant-based diets were more effective for weight loss accompanied with health improvements such as lower cholesterol and decreased risk of cancer, compared to omnivorous diets.

Following the vegetarian or vegan type of diet has been shown to boost metabolism, which means that more calories could be burned while at rest, making weight loss more effective. Therefore, following vegan diets has shown to have many health benefits. This means that people consume less processed or pre-packed food that contain animal products, which eventually allows them to consume fresh and whole foods instead.

The following of plant-based diet or vegan diet is associated with lower risk of cancer, reduced risk of stroke, reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol, lower risk of diabetes and lower blood glucose. On the other hand, it may also have its cons when adhering to vegan diet. Animal products naturally contain vitamin-B12, which means that it has to be supplemented or find other sources. There is potential for vegans to become deficient in iron, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and omega 3, if foods containing all these are not consumed.

It is important to mention that for every diet, the key to successful weight loss is to consume lesser calories than are burned when exercising or doing daily activities. People that want to lose weight using vegan diet should consume mainly fibre-rich fruits e.g. berries, apples, citruses and others; also fibre rich and leafy vegetables such as broccoli, potatoes, sprouts, spinach, kale; fats coming from avocado, olive oil, nuts & seeds; protein sources should be mainly coming from tofu, soy, soy milk, beans, lentils, seitan, tempeh; whole grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, wholegrain bread.

On the other hand, people who want to be vegan and lose weight should avoid processed meat substitutes, vegan deserts, and processed snacks as some of them contain high amounts of sugar and saturated fats. Following plant-based diet has its positives from the perspective of consuming more plant foods, probiotics and fibres.

However, this can be healthy lifestyle diet and can be used for weight loss as well, but individuals taking this approach should be cautious of the deficits of some vitamins and minerals that are absent in vegan diet. Some nutritional deficits can be replenished by using vegan supplements, otherwise the lack of macronutrients and micronutrients may lead to disruptions in homeostasis.

Ibrahim

References:

Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., Casini, A., & Sofi, F. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition57(17), 3640-3649.

Turner-McGrievy, G. M., Davidson, C. R., Wingard, E. E., Wilcox, S., & Frongillo, E. A. (2015). Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: a randomized controlled trial of five different diets. Nutrition31(2), 350-358.

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