Updated April 2021
Plant-based diets are being used for weight loss at a rapidly growing pace. Even professional athletes are looking to cut out the animal products and fill their plates with plant-based ingredients. So, why should you implement a plant-based diet in your weight loss journey?
Eating a diet that is predominantly made up of plants is beneficial for you in many ways. It helps to improve your physical and your mental health, and it is a tool you can use to help you lose weight; that is, if you follow the diet correctly.
A plant-based diet is not a single diet; rather, it is a broad term for a few different diets. However, the main focus of all plant-based diets is to consume a diet that is plant-heavy and limits or excludes animal products.
The types of diets include a vegan diet, vegetarian, pescatarian, or flexitarian diet. These diets all eliminate animal products to a certain extent.
Often, people label their diet as plant-based to signal that their diet predominantly consists of plant-based foods while limiting their consumption of animal products to some extent.
Transitioning to any of these diets can be quite difficult if you have been consuming a traditional Western diet for most of your life as this kind of diet is high in animal products as well as processed foods.
This switch can be a lot easier if you follow a few tips on how to get started, what foods you should and shouldn’t eat, as well as learning what products you may need to include in your new eating habits.
A Quick Look At The Products To Help Your Plant-Based Weight Loss
Rating & Price
The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook
RSP TrueFit Vegan Protein Powder Meal Replacement
Plant-D3 Organic Vitamin D3 5000 IU
The Health Benefits Of A Plant-Based Diet
Switching to a plant-based diet offers several benefits for you, and these include both mental, physical, and weight loss benefits. The key to enjoying these benefits is to consume the right type of plant-based diet.
Eating plant-based or vegan foods does not automatically mean you are eating a healthy diet as many of these foods can be highly processed and contain unhealthy added sugars and refined foods, even if they are free from animal products.
Too many people fall into the trap of believing that if a product is plant-based, it must be healthy, but this is incorrect.
If you would like to enjoy the following health benefits, you should be consuming a whole-food plant-based diet that is filled with whole plant foods that are minimally processed and contain little or no added modified ingredients.
Physical Benefits Of A Plant-Based Diet
When you are consuming a plant-based diet, you will need to include a variety of food groups into your diet. These include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and beans and legumes.
These foods are high in healthy nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and unsaturated fats. They are also lower in cholesterol and saturated fats than animal products.
These nutrients, along with the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, help reduce the risk of certain cancers, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses.
In addition to the health improvements, you will also start to feel more energized and clear-headed and improve your digestion.
Mental Benefits Of A Plant-Based Diet
Mentally, you will benefit from a plant-based diet in several ways with improved cognitive functioning and a decline in depression and anxiety while being able to stay more focused and alert.
Many plant-based foods are high in healthy nutrients that assist in the functioning of the brain. For instance, glucose is necessary for your brain to function properly.
Glucose is converted from sugars by your body when you consume carbohydrates, and if you choose to eat healthy complex carbohydrates, you will provide your body with an even supply of glucose.
Foods such as vegetables, fruits, and some legumes contain healthy carbohydrates that promote better brain functioning. Cognitive functioning is also improved by the antioxidants present in these plant foods.
Depression and anxiety may be reduced and can become more manageable on a plant-based diet. One reason for this could be the reduction of processed foods in your diet that are high in added sugars.
These sugary foods cause fluctuations in your mood due to the sugar rush and resultant sugar crash. When your body quickly absorbs simple sugars, it increases your dopamine and serotonin levels and you will feel happier and less depressed.
However, this joy is short-lived and the sugary foods will use up your dopamine and serotonin levels in an unsustainable manner, leaving your mood to decline, and the constant changing of your moods can lead to anxiety.
Plant-based foods provide your body with a steady supply of complex carbohydrates, resulting in an adequate dose of “happy” hormones that will sustain your mood and keep your hormones stable.
Weight Loss On A Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet and weight loss are often spoken of simultaneously. This is because the plant-based diet will help you on your weight loss journey if you are consuming the right foods.
Consuming a diet rich in whole plant foods will help improve your chances of losing weight and reaching your goal body fat percentage because the majority of the foods are high in fiber.
Fiber helps keep you feeling full for longer since the body does not digest these nutrients. They pass through in a soluble or insoluble form, which helps promote digestion and keeps you regular.
If you choose more fiber-rich foods that are low in calories such as brown rice and popcorn, you will be able to feel full without eating a lot of calories, which means you will lower your daily calorie consumption.
A general plant-based diet isn’t a strict diet that requires you to cut out major food groups, as you only need to limit animal products and not remove them from your diet entirely.
This form of eating allows you to cut the calories while still getting enough nutrients, vitamins, and not depriving yourself of food throughout the day. If you are transitioning to a plant-based diet, you may want to add a few easy meals to your diet.
A good way to lose weight with vegan diet products is by adding a meal replacement shake to some of your meals. This will help you get the nutrients you need without consuming too many calories.
It is also the perfect solution if you are often grabbing highly processed meals on-the-go. You can try a product like this organic paleo meal replacement powder.
Supplementing a few of your meals will prevent you from buying too many impulsive takeout and ready foods that are highly processed. This shake will give you the plant-based nutrition you need.
How To Get Started On A Plant-Based Diet
Transitioning to this new lifestyle and diet can be quite tricky when you have to find new foods to eat and also change the way you look at food. You are probably used to animal proteins being the star of your dishes with vegetables acting more as a garnishing.
Here are a few tips to help you make the change easier by rethinking your portions and food choices:
- Change the amount of meat you put on your plate. Rather include a large portion of vegetables, some whole grains and legumes, and then keep your meat to a small portion on the plate until you can leave it off completely.
- You can slowly start adding in vegetarian or vegan dishes to a few meals a week or start having “meatless Mondays” to try out new dishes.
- Load up on the whole grains for breakfast as these foods will keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce your cravings for unhealthy treats throughout the day.
- Another great way to include more plant-based foods in your diet is by enjoying fruit for dessert instead of unhealthy treats. Having a fruit salad will help satisfy your sugar cravings and fill you up with fiber.
If you are looking for inspiration for new plant-based meals and additions, you can add some vegan protein shakes to your post gym workout and you can also find books to help you find new ideas. The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook offers several tasty and healthy meals for you to try.
Plant-based eating can become so much easier with 500 simple recipes at your fingertips. You won’t have to search for inspiration, and if you are not ready to turn fully vegan, this book offers flexibility for your meal planning.
Additional Supplements To Take On A Plant-Based Diet
When you are switching to a plant-based diet, you should be aware of the essential nutrients you may not get on a plant-based diet.
While you will be getting a range of healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals when you consume whole foods, there are a few that are lacking in these foods.
You will need to watch your omega-3 intake when you reduce the amount of fatty fish in your diet; luckily you can enjoy a handful of ground flax seeds each day to get the required amount of omega-3.
Vitamin B12 is another vitamin to watch out for on a plant-based diet and you should look for foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 or take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Vitamin D3 is the other vitamin that is lacking in this diet, and if you get enough sunlight each day, you will be getting an adequate amount of vitamin D3. However, this isn’t always possible and you may need to supplement your diet with vitamin D3.
Having vitamin D3 supplements on standby is a good idea for those bad weather days or for when you and your family can’t get that much-needed sun time. One bottle can be used for the whole family so you don’t have to worry about any vitamin D deficiencies.
Plant-Based Diet For Weight Loss FAQs
How Can You Lose Weight On A Plant-Based Diet?
Consuming whole plant foods will help you lose weight naturally due to the high amounts of fiber and other nutrients in the foods.
You will also have to cut out highly processed meats and other foods that will reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet and help you lose more weight.
What Can’t You Eat On A Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is a more flexible version of a vegan or vegetarian diet and, so while you are advised to stay away from these foods (below), you can consume them on occasion.
Plant-based diets reduce the number of animal meats, dairy, eggs, and any other ingredients derived from animal products.
What Are The Main Plant-Based Foods For Weight Loss?
All whole foods in a plant-based diet will help you lose weight if eaten in moderation. However, broccoli, quinoa, dates, black beans, and berries are believed to promote fat loss.
No matter what your reason is to switch to a plant-based diet, you will enjoy a cleaner way of eating and more opportunities to reduce your weight.
Plant-based foods are generally high in fiber to help fill you up for longer reducing your hunger and cravings.
As long as you stick to natural whole foods and stay away from highly-processed foods with plenty of added sugar, you will notice the positive benefits of eating this way.
If you have any other plant-based weight loss tips or if you have tried any of the products, let us know in the comment below.