Research has shown us repeatedly that eating vegetarian will result in more health benefits over the course of time.
Those who are vegetarian tend to have less heart disease, less incidence of diabetes, and generally, live longer lives.
Unfortunately, Weight loss is not necessarily on the list of benefits.
So, what gives? Why are we not guaranteed to lose weight by eating vegetarian?
3 Vegetarian Weight Loss Downfalls
1. If You do not Eat Enough Protein
You may have difficulty staying full and satisfied. Proteins are large molecules made from complex amino acids. Our body has to work to break these proteins down resulting in slower absorption. Many report feeling fuller when eating the more complex animal proteins.
How to fix this: Make sure to get a source of protein at every meal and snack. This will ensure that you get complete proteins in your day. Include nuts, plenty of beans, and quinoa. If you eat eggs, make sure to include this high quality protein.
2. Beware of Vegetarian Health Halo
Just because you are eating vegetarian does not mean you can overeat that healthy granola or hummus you just bought. Every food and calorie counts!
Another example: pizza is often vegetarian, but not health food!
How to fix this: Make sure to fill-up on the fruits and vegetables first. Then, include the healthy fats and carbohydrates in the correct portions. Measure them out if you need to.
3. Too Many Carbohydrates!
The main problem I find with my vegetarian (or vegan) weight loss patients is that they are still not eating enough protein, and eating a few too many carbohydrates. It is common and acceptable to eat a few more carbohydrates when eating vegetarian and vegan, but keep track of what you consume.
How to fix this: Continue to enjoy oats, brown rice, beans, peas, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and whole grain breads. But, make sure to avoid white processed breads and snack products. When you do eat those healthy carbohydrates, make sure to dish yourself out the correct portion for you. Usually this is about a ½- 1 cup serving, but varies depending on the person.
What Else Can a Vegetarian Do to Lose Weight?
You could always meet with a Registered Dietitian to make sure you are eating the way you think you should be eating. Often, a Dietitian can help pin-point one or two key factors that may be stalling your weight loss.
Eat more leafy greens. A big green salad will fill you up for very few calories, just don’t drench it with a lot of high-calorie dressing.
Have you been successful losing weight on a vegetarian diet?