Weight Loss for Vegetarians
Weight Loss & Diet Advice for Vegetarians & Vegans

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Weight Loss & Diet Advice for Vegetarians

Vegetarian diets are often lower in calories and fat than meat-diets, and rates of overweight and obesity among vegetarians are lower than among meat-eaters. However, vegetarian diets are no guarantee of a healthy weight. Convenience vegetarian foods can be just as fattening as non-vegetarian foods - in fact some vegetarian products and recipes may contain more fat than meat-based foods. Over-consumption of these high-calorie convenience foods or 'vegetarian' fast-food leads to weight gain just like meat-based foods.

Balanced Weight Loss Diet

Whether you are vegan or ovo-lacto vegetarian or simply someone who avoids meat, the secret of successful weight loss is to follow a BALANCED vegetarian weight loss diet and take regular exercise.

Vegetarian Food Pyramid

By following the dietary guidelines contained in the Vegetarian Food Pyramid, and fortifying his/her diet as appropriate, a vegetarian will obtain all the necessary diet nutrition. See the following table for differing calorie-controlled weight loss diet plans.

Table 1. Vegetarian Weight Loss Diets Based on Vegetarian Pyramid

Vegetarian
Food Group
1200 Calorie
Weight Loss Vegetarian Diet
1500 Calorie
Weight Loss Vegetarian Diet
1800 Calorie
Weight Loss Vegetarian Diet
Grains 5 servings 6 servings 8 servings
Vegetables 3 servings 3 servings 5 servings
Fruits 2 servings 3 servings 4 servings
Dairy/Milk 2 servings 2-3 servings 2-3 servings
Dry Beans, Nuts, Seeds, Eggs & Meat Substitutes 5oz 6oz 7oz
Total Fat (30%) 30-35g 40-50g 50-60g

Vegetarian Weight Loss Tips

Giving up meat is not necessarily good for your weight. Many vegetarian foods are calorie-dense either because they are high in fat or high in sugar. Here is some elementary weight loss advice to help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Some vegetarian food products add extra fat to compensate for lack of meat flavor. Always check the label. On a weight loss diet, your daily fat intake should be about 30-35 grams.
  • If you are an ovo-lacto vegetarian, don't depend on cheese and other calorie-dense dairy foods. Cheese is 30 percent fat.
  • Include regular helpings of complex carbs, like whole wheat bread, wholegrain cereal, oats and rice in your weight loss plan. These foods fill you up and prevent you overeating fattening foods like cheese pizzas!
  • Make sure your weight loss diet includes regular helpings of fruit and vegetables. Part-vegetarians who don't like fruit or vegetables end up overeating high-calorie snack foods.
  • Don't overdo the mayo. Mayonnaise is 80 percent fat!

Note: Careless vegetarian dieting can cause low levels of dietary nutrition which in turn may lead to a slowdown in metabolic rate and consequent weight gain.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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