Achieving Your Weight loss Goals with A Vegetarian diet
While the obesity epidemic rages on across the United States, United Kingdom and the rest of the world, one particular subset of the population has been affected to a far lesser degree — vegetarians. According to WebMD, vegetarians, on average, weigh less than carnivores, and fewer than six percent of their population are obese.
Vegetarians are obviously doing better than the rest of the population when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. However, the question remains: can adopting a vegetarian diet help you to achieve weight loss success? Read on to learn more about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and how you can apply its principles to your life to enable you to move your weight loss effort into higher gear.
Can A Vegetarian Diet Help You Lose Weight Quickly?
Simply put, adopting a vegetarian diet cannot only help you lose weight, but can lower risk for a number of serious health conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There have been a few recent studies that have even indicated that eating a diet that is too heavy in meat can actually shave a few years off your life because of the greater risk for the aforementioned health conditions.
Health experts also speculate that one of the reasons vegetarians tend to be slimmer and trimmer than carnivores, on average, is because they eat a higher amount of fiber and thus feel more full for longer periods of time. Also, it’s fairly obvious that meat has more calories than fruits and vegetables, so a vegetarian diet that’s done the right way will automatically have more calories than a carnivore diet. However, the key words are “the right way,” as merely cutting meat out of your diet and replacing it with junk food isn’t going to get you any closer to weight loss success.
What Should I know before starting a vegetarian diet to help me achieve weight loss success?
First of all, it’s important to know that you will be cutting a significant amount of protein from your diet, and it will have to be made up elsewhere. This isn’t the uphill struggle that many people seem to think it is, however, as the majority of the American and European public get plenty of protein. Nuts, particularly almonds and walnuts, are fantastic sources of protein and you will soon learn to make them a mainstay of your diet. Be careful though, because even though nuts contains lots of heart-healthy fat, it’s still fat and will add to your waistline if indulged in too much.
As a vegetarian diet is not the traditional Western diet, it will be up to you to ensure that you’re getting the proper nutrients through other avenues other than meat. In addition, you may find it challenging to eat out as a vegetarian at first, especially if you live in a rural area where vegetarian meals at restaurants are few and far between, if they’re offered at all. Fortunately, restaurant owners are becoming more enlightened to the needs of their vegetarian customers in recent years, but often lacking access to a wide array of vegetarian food at restaurants will most likely always be a cross you’ll have to bear if you pursue this lifestyle.
Alternatives to a Traditional Vegetarian Diet
If you’ve given the prospect of beginning a vegetarian diet a lot of thought and decided that it’s too extreme of a lifestyle change for you at the moment, consider the following alternatives to the traditional vegetarian diet that will still allow you to reap some of the positive benefits of it.
Quasi-vegetarian — You’ll get your protein through an ample amount of fish and poultry, while sidestepping the negative health consequences associated with eating red meat.
Pescetarian —In this diet, you can eat fish and seafood, while cutting out meat and poultry.
As you can see, everyone can reap the benefits of a vegetarian diet, even if they’re not ready to become full-fledged vegetarians.
However, the opposite scenario may be true for you you’re concerned about animal rights or you just want to cut animal by-products out of your diet completely, you could adopt a vegan diet, where you would exclude eggs, milk, and all other dairy products. There is also the option of a lactovegetarian diet, where you can consume milk and milk products, but no eggs or meat.
The Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
The health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet are numerous. One of the biggest pluses in the vegetarian column is the fact that it can lower the risk of heart disease. Red meat and processed meat tend to be high in saturated fat which raises your LDL level (that’s the bad cholesterol level), which in turn raises your risk of coronary heart disease. A vegetarian diet is a heart-friendly diet and will decrease your risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
According to the non-profit group The Cancer Project, a high-fat diet is also linked to various forms of cancer. Red meat consumption, in particular, has been linked in some studies to breast, gastric, prostrate, and pancreatic cancers.
Finally, using a vegetarian diet to lose weight will save you from the myriad of consequences associated with obesity, such as diabetes, gynecological issues and high blood pressure.
The No-Nos of a Vegetarian diet
All of the aforementioned health benefits only apply to a healthy vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet does not give you license to eat all of the pasta, chips and candy you want, just because they’re not meat. An unbalanced vegetarian diet can be even more harmful than a meat-based diet if it’s abused. Remember, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the name of the game when it comes to trying to achieve weight loss success.
A vegetarian diet can allow you to lose weight while increasing your overall standard of life. It can also be an ethical choice in terms of our treatment of animals and the planet as a whole. If you’re truly serious about losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, a vegetarian diet can be an attractive and viable option for you.