Interestingly this is not merely a notion; an Oxford University study of 40,000 adults found that those who ate a diet high in meat, had the highest Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) with vegans the lowest and vegetarians in the middle.
However, in reality, my clinical practice experience does not coincide with these research findings and in fact, those who have cut out all foods originating from animal products did not lose weight and worse still often gained weight!
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that might be sabotaging your good intentions and weight loss efforts.
1. You’re not eating enough protein
Protein is the one food group that is should be the focus of a new vegan diet with getting adequate protein the main aim. Adequate protein is also an essential as part of a weight loss program.
2. You’re eating too much
Switching to a plant-based diet inevitably focuses your choices on healthy whole grains such as brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and whole grain bread as well as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and the ubiquitous avocado.
3. You’re not sticking to three meals a day
By switching to a vegan diet, you find yourself focusing on your food choices more than ever; after all, you need to ensure a well-balanced diet despite eliminating a number of food groups.
4. You’re treating yourself inadvertently
Great, but more often than not, these are little more than junk food disguised under the healthy vegan banner. Take vegetable chips for example; these are very high in oil and salt and any nutrients that vegetables started out with have long been eliminated during the cooking and processing trail.
Coconut milk, delicious, creamy and sweet is laden with calories and highly processed, so less nutritive. Vegan ready meals will contain ‘filler’ ingredients such as refined flour providing little nutrient value.
Avoid processed foods in the specialty aisles and instead go back to real food, in other words, if you need a snack, choose fruits and nuts or high percent cocoa solids chocolate or perhaps some crudites and a hummus or avocado dip.