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Does A Vegan Diet Work For Weight Loss?

Natan Rosenfeld Natan Rosenfeld April 1, 2021
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

If you’ve been trying to lose weight and none of the lifestyle changes you’ve made seem to work, you’ve probably considered adopting an entirely new eating routine. These days, diets are all the rage. Every few months, a trendy new diet makes its rounds on social media platforms and eventually loses popularity once a new diet is introduced to the internet. Some diets have proven to be effective for weight loss (if followed correctly), like the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet. And you’ve probably heard of the vegan diet, one of the world’s most popular eating regimens. The question is, does it work?

 

What is a vegan diet?

 

While vegetarians don’t eat meat, vegans take things a step further and cut out all animal products from their diets. This includes meat like chicken, fish and beef, milk, yogurt, eggs, and even honey, which is produced by bees. Traditional vegans are against all forms of suffering, so they won’t eat anything that comes from an animal, which is often abused or killed for its food source. But some vegans follow the diet simply for its health benefits.

 

Vegans usually eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, and soy products like tofu and soy milk. But a vegan diet must also include vitamins that are normally found in animal products, like vitamin B12. Vegans need to take these vitamins in the form of supplements to avoid deficiencies. 

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Vegan diet and weight loss

 

Numerous studies have shown that following a plant-based diet promotes often significant weight loss. One study found that one’s risk of obesity decreased by 7% for every year on a vegan diet. Another 2018 study separated participants into two groups. One group ate a control diet which included meats and dairy products, while the other group ate a strict vegan diet. Only the vegan diet proved to be effective at reducing body weight. 

 

So it appears that following a vegan diet can lead to weight loss–assuming you’re doing it correctly. The problem is that many stores sell vegan products that contain high levels of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. For example, plant-based meat sounds healthy, right? But some “fake meat” products are full of sodium, unhealthy oils, and preservatives. Same with vegan desserts. Since it’s hard to make a cake without eggs or butter, manufacturers use other additives and large amounts of sugar as a replacement to improve texture and flavor. Even though some foods are advertised as vegan, they’re not good for you and will cause you to gain weight rather than lose it.

 

To sum up

 

Vegan diets are effective for weight loss as long as you avoid processed vegan food products and eat a lot of vegetables, grains, fruits, and nuts. To find a vegan diet that works for you, have a look on the internet for some programs to follow and tips to keep you on the path.

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