Vegetarianism has not only grown in popularity as a lifestyle but also as a weight loss method. And those who have adopted this eating plan are not wrong in thinking they can lose weight through this diet. Typically vegetarian diets include less fat, more nutrients, less processed goods and fewer calories.
Celeb vegetarians including Alicia Silverstone, Sir Paul McCartney, Carrie Underwood, Naomi Watts and more all have said goodbye to meat and feel better because of it.
But as with any weight loss plan, a vegetarian weight loss diet has its risks and benefits. Without meat providing certain nutrients you will need to stock up through other means including vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Weight loss benefits
Several scientific studies have shown that vegetarians are less likely to become obese than other meat eaters. In most Western nations vegetarians have lower blood cholesterol and body mass index.
People maintaining a vegetarian weight loss diet also enjoy a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and even cancer.
How it works
So why does vegetarianism produce weight loss results?
Primarily because meat and animal products contain fewer preservatives, calories and saturated fats. Also fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which help to eliminate free radicals that cause cells to die and cause disease.
A vegetarian weight loss diet doesn-t require you to starve yourself-you can eat normal servings and still get fewer calories than you would from a meat-based meal.
Of course, vegetables can-t provide you with everything you need. One of the main concerns about the vegetarian weight loss diet is that there aren-t enough sources of protein. Most vegetarians get their protein from beans, tofu and legumes.
If you-re combining your vegetarian weight loss diet with an exercise regimen (which you should), consider taking protein supplements or consuming more vegetable proteins.
Types of vegetarianism
If the thought of cutting out meat altogether seems like a horrendous idea there are different ways to enjoy the benefits of vegetarian diets.
In fact, if you have certain health problems, your doctor may recommend some modifications. Vegetarianism is divided into several subtypes depending on which foods are restricted. Some of the most common are the following:
Semi-vegetarian: A semi-vegetarian weight loss diet rules out all red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb, but allows fish and poultry. Dairy products are also included.
Pesco-vegetarian: This diet prohibits all animal products, except fish and seafood. Some also allow eggs and dairy, although it-s more often a personal choice.
Lacto-vegetarian: Meat, poultry and eggs are prohibited; the only animal products allowed are milk and dairy.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: This is the most common type of vegetarian weight loss diet. It only prohibits animal meats, but allows by-products such as animal oils, milk, eggs, and dairy.
Vegan: Described as -pure- vegetarianism, vegan diets prohibit all animal products. Vegans are not so much health buffs as they are animal rights advocates. As such, they also stay away from non-food products such as leather and fur.
Just because you-re a vegetarian doesn-t mean you-re consuming less fat. The way you prepare your vegetables greatly affects their nutritional value. What good is a low-fat vegetable salad if you slather it with a creamy dressing? To get the most out of your vegetarian diet, you still need to read the labels and watch your fat and sugar intake.
Watch your iron
Plant-based iron is different from animal iron. The former is less easily absorbed by the body, so vegetarians can be prone to anemia. To increase iron absorption, combine iron-rich foods such as nuts, beans and legumes with vitamin C-rich ones like oranges, strawberries and tomatoes. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron is 12 to 15 mg daily.
The same goes for calcium: you can compensate for the lack of dairy-based calcium by eating fortified cereals, eggs, milk, and cheese.
Going ‘vego’ can be a great way to try out a new, healthy lifestyle. Regardless of weight loss its a great way to flush out your system and feed yourself with the best nutrients around.
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"you can compensate for the lack of dairy-based calcium by eating fortified cereals, eggs, milk, and cheese" - had to read that three times and it still doesn't make any sense. When did milk and cheese stop being dairy?
Calcium comes from dark green vegetables like spinach and kale. Eat your greens and nobody gets hurt...