At Nutracity’s online vegan nutrition store we stock a great range of vegan products as part of our vegan products UK line. Why do vegans lose weight? is a very good question, however, this is not the case all the time. To be honest, when starting most new diets, most people do experience some sort of weight loss, be it big or small, as the body is going through a lot of changes in its nutritional intake. However, once the body establishes an equilibrium, then we can truly see if that individual has lost any weight. From my own personal experience with vegans, I can see that they come in all different shapes and sizes, some more muscular than others, some are fat, some are skinny etc just like any other population there is some variation. We have to also bare in mind that not all vegan food is healthy. Even though vegan products do not contain anything from or derived from animals, this does not exempt the product from being free from saturated fat, carbohydrates and sugars. If a vegan individual decided to eat mostly vegan burgers, thinking that they are “healthy”, then it may come as a surprise to them they will eventually pack on the pounds. Lets take a look at the nutritional profile of a popular unnamed vegan burger in the UK (per 100g):
As we can see the carbohydrate content is quite low, but the healthy fats are still quite high. It would be interesting to compare these figures to a meat alternative:
So as we can see they both have pretty high fat content, so it would not be healthy to consume too much of either, however it is also very interesting to note that the vegan alternative does contain considerably less fat. Lets take a look at the nutritional profile of a popular unnamed vegan sausage (per 100g):
Now if we look at the nutritional profile of a popular brand of pork sausages (per 100g):
So we can see that the vegan alternative sausages have a much better nutritional profile as there is nearly twenty grams less fat and two grams more protein. This is a typical pattern that one would notice when comparing such products. As such, weight loss is often seen as a benefit of this.
Most typical carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes etc are considered vegan friendly and these foods do not help in weight loss. Some vegans may notice an increase in the uptake of carbohydrates when they initially start their vegan diet as they may not have full knowledge of meat alternatives at that point. This can actually lead to weight gain as the body will store unused carbohydrates as fat. Therefore it is important for any dietary changes to be carefully planned before they are started in order to prevent this.
Another point to consider is that a vegan diet in and of itself encourages a lot more cooking at home. This is the case particularly for those on a budget. A lot of vegan alternative food items are considerably more expensive therefore it is cheaper to buy fresh and raw vegan ingredients and cook a nice meal at home. Home-cooked meals tend to contain less salt and preservatives as well as other chemicals that do not harm the body. Avoiding highly processed foods, vegan junk foods, and industrialised food does help with weight loss as the human body is able to digest raw ingredients more efficiently.
A plant based diet does not allow dairy products (animal products) as they are derived from animals. Whole foods like these products such as milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt are very high in fats and in some households, these are typically consumed with each meal and maybe some small snacks throughout the day. So if we eliminate these products from our diet, there is also a reduced fat intake throughout the day.
Stopping and starting vegan diets on a consistent basis is known to actually cause weight gain. A lot of vegans when first starting do see an initial weight loss, however when inconsistencies in the diet develop, they may actually put more weight on than what was initially lost. Being consistent with the diet can prevent this but also vegans need to stick to foods that are more nutrient dense foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds and just generally avoid vegan processed foods even if they are vegan.
Another factor that helps to contribute to vegan weight loss is that vegans tend to consume a lot more fibre than those on a non-vegan diet. Fibre helps to regulate bowel movement and keep us satiated (feeling full) for longer and can therefore prevent us from over-eating. Healthy plant based diets or foods are also lower in saturated fats than meat products, this also help you lose weight. Calorie intake is still a major factor in weight loss, even when on a vegan diet. The good news is that vegan food does have fewer calories in general, but even if you consume vegan foods in large amounts you cannot expect to lose weight if your calorie intake is higher than your metabolic rate.
Have Healthy Eating Habits & Avoid Processed Foods
So to sum up, individuals can experience weight loss when starting a vegan diet, however, there are other factors that can lead to an increase in weight also. On top of this, losing weight over a long period of time and not putting even more weight back on can be more challenging, so therefore it is important for people following a vegan diet to also watch what they eat also. It must be remembered, that just because something is vegan, it is not necessarily always healthy, but it may be a healthier alternative to the non-vegan option. For plenty of vegan products and other health and nutrition products don’t forget to visit out online store www.nutracity.com.uk or use our chat feature to speak to one of our on-demand pharmacists.