The belief that a vegetarian diet facilitates easier weight loss has now the support of scientific studies. Vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters and have lesser chances of encountering problems like heart diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure.
But this does not mean that turning vegetarian overnight will make you slimmer. There are a number of vegetarian food items which include higher amount of calories like nuts, peanut butter, salad dressings, sweets etc. which can make you fatter. Not only that, vegetarians must make sure that their diet provides all the necessary nutrients, especially proteins.
Advantages of vegetarian diet
Experts say that calories from plant based foods are being used more as fuel for the body than stored as fat. One reason for this is the fact that vegetarian food increases insulin sensitivity. As a result, nutrients enter the cells more rapidly to be converted as heat, rather than to be stored as fat. Vegetarian food is also low in saturated fat.
The number of obese among vegetarians is comparatively lesser. Vegetarianism also keeps obesity-related health problems like heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes at bay.
Nutrients-rich vegetarian food
It is not fair to compromise health for weight loss. So plan your vegetarian diet in such a way that you are not deprived of any essential nutrients. You can get enough proteins from nuts, seeds, legumes and soy products like tofu and tempeh. Whole grains and rice can keep you satisfied for longer duration. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables that can provide you enough vitamins and minerals. If you are not using dairy products, you can have soy-based alternatives for milk, yoghurt and cheese fortified with calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin. You can also take daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplements to fill nutritional gaps, if there is any.
Things to avoid
While sticking on to vegetarian diet, it is important to avoid items which contain high calories like cheese, butter, salad dressing and fried food. Snacks, crackers and candy are also in the ‘to avoid’ list. Not only do they add unwanted calories but also has zero nutritional value.
Can everybody follow a vegetarian diet?
Some experts do not agree with the argument that anybody can follow a vegetarian diet. It is advisable for children, teenagers, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to consult the doctor to make sure that they do not miss the much needed nutrients like proteins and minerals while following vegetarian diet.
For better results
You must plan what you are going to eat and must avoid last minute choices, which will not always be the right choice. You can add variety to your daily menu by including different fruits and vegetables, instead of following a monotonous diet every day.