There has never been an easier time to adapt to a vegan diet.
If you have a weight loss goal in mind, eating a vegan diet may be one of the fastest, healthiest, and easily sustainable changes you can make to build a healthier, slimmer body.
After all, healthy vegan diets are rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
However, in this age of convenience there are mistakes you can make that would lead to a vegan diet hurting your weight loss goals.
Below, you can find 10 ways a vegan diet can hurt your weight loss goals, as well as ways it can help or inhibit—your goals.
1. You Are a “Junk Food Vegan”
You might have heard the term “junk food vegan” thrown around lately. Or maybe you’ve heard
someone say, “I am vegan for the animals, not my health.”
Let’s dive into what that means: A junk food vegan consumes highly proceeded food on a regular basis. Processed, food-like, convenient dishes may make up the bulk of their calories.
They are high in sodium, un-healthy fats, and processed sugar. On top of being generally unhealthy, they can also be addicting. These types of foods often lack key nutrients.
They are calorie dense and nutrient poor. This leads to a whole host of health problems as well as
negatively impacting your vegan weight loss goals.
2. You have Accidentally become a “Carbitarian”
Whoops! In your quest of avoidance of cheese and butter (well done by the way!), you have somehow
managed to eat pasta for more meals than you are proud to admit. You may be unashamed to have a
bowl of pesto pasta for breakfast at your desk, because there are no true rules to breakfast and your
coworkers sideways glances have no effect on you.
Unabashed, you know any food is breakfast food and the most important criteria is a meal that is free of animal products. However, if weight loss is your goal it might be better to keep the pasta to a minimum and switch out your carbs for more fruits and vegetables.
Not to knock pasta of course, because after all, when prepared correctly a bowl of pasta is a great cheap
and healthy vegan meal. The frequency and quantity is important however. Go for smaller portions of
pasta and larger portions of vegetables. Another option is to substitute high carb pasta for high fiber
spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
3. You are not eating enough fiber
Fiber does a lot of great things to our bodies. It is one of the most important components to a healthy
diet, especially when it comes to weight loss and a healthy vegan diet. Fiber can block fat from being
absorbed into your body. A diet high in fiber can help you lose weight faster.
Lucky for you, a vegan diet is the easiest way to eat more fiber because fiber is only found in plants! If you are having trouble losing weight as a vegan, or if you are afraid a vegan diet may set back your weight loss goals, eating enough fiber is the cheat code.
Eating whole foods like beans, chickpeas, lentils, whole grains like Quinoa and oats, and root vegetables like beets, parsnips, and turnips will help you reach your fiber goals.
4. You are not eating enough protein
You’ve done everything right: You eat your fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and drinks plenty of
water. So, what gives? You may be missing out on an important nutrient: Protein.
Protein helps us stay fuller longer, so if you are not getting enough protein because you are exercising
more than normal or lifting weights and bulking, your body may be sending you signals to eat more
calories more frequently. Eating enough protein will cut down on sugar cravings and binge eating.
5. You are overeating in general
Your lack of protein and fiber may be leading you to eating a calorie surplus. When it comes to weight loss the most important factor is eating in a calorie deficit. That means you need to burn more calories than you consume. The easiest way to combat this is to keep track of your calories throughout the day.
6. You are consuming a lot of oil
Loosing weight as a vegan is not as simple as 1, 2, 3.. It still requires some mindfulness and attention.
There are a plethora of apps available for this purpose, or you may find keeping a food journal is more
One way to combat this is to follow the guidelines for the Whole Plant Diet. This may sound like an
extreme form of vegan dieting, but striped down it is very simple and has helped thousands of people
manage their life long chronic illnesses. Oils greases up your digestive system and makes it not function
as well as it could.
This can lead to poor nutrient absorption and unhealthy bowl movements. Oils are
also very calorie dense and nutrient poor. These factors are a recipe for disaster and may lead to weight
gain even eating a fully vegan diet.
Salad dressings and frying can be a sneaky way to add too much oil to your diet. If you are a fan of salad
dressing, it may be a good option to measure a serving size before measuring with your heart. With a
little due diligence it is entirely possible to enjoy oil in your vegan diet. With all things, moderation is
key, and oil indulgence is no exception.
7. You are drinking your calories
Happy hour is a grand ol’ time for all! However, if you are sipping on a mixed drink after work, or having
a beer with the bros, you may be consuming more sugar and calories than you realize. Liquid calories
also hide in sodas, juices, oat milk lattes, and more.
The list goes on infinitely and they all affect your metabolism in an unhealthy way. Drinking too many of your calories is a sneaky way to set yourself back with all of the progress you may have been making by eating your whole, high fiber, and nutritious foods.
Important note: Not drinking enough water will also set back your weight loss goals as a vegan. Make
sure you are diligent in drinking enough water consistently throughout the day.
8. You don’t eat enough
It seems a little counter intuitive but eating an appropriate amount of calories is essential to healthy
weight loss. It may seem tempting to skip meals in an attempt to loose weight faster. However, skipping
melas has negative consequences.
When we skip meals our blood sugar crashes leading us to crave
anything and everything that’s accessible. This means you may be more likely to binge on highly
processed junk food. To avoid this: plan out snacks and meals, and have easily, healthy snacks on hand
for when a craving strikes.
9. Your diet is not balanced
While super foods like quinoa have the added benefit of containing protein, they are still carbohydrate
dense and if you are not being vigilant in tracking your nutrients, you may not be eating a balanced diet.
It is most important to eat a varied diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
An easy trick to track how balanced your diet is, is to eat a full spectrum of color. Eating vegetables that are orange and fruits that are blue will provide their own unique nutrients.
10. Vegan Diets Can Be Overly Restrictive
You have probably heard of the raw vegan diet, the gluten-free vegan diet, and a variety of other offshoots of the plant-based diet. Avoiding meat and dairy can already be very limiting, and even more so if you choose to eliminate grains or any other food group.
If you are on a vegan diet, be sure to take a vitamin B-12 supplement, and if you are not regularly exposed to sunlight, you may want to try a vitamin D supplement.
If you are eating a plant-based diet for the first time, make a few appointments with a dietitian to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need especially iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids – and try tracking your food intake in My Fitness Pal to see where you may be deficient. After all, weight loss is not worth it if comes at the expense of your overall health