A study confirms that a vegetarian diet is better than a low-cal diet for weight loss (1). It also has many health benefits and reduces the health risks of consuming hormone-treated meat. Switching to a vegetarian diet is ideal for weight loss and better health. Scroll down to know all about the vegetarian diet for weight loss.
In this post, you will learn about how a vegetarian diet aids quick weight loss, 7-day diet plan, complete foods list, health benefits, and a few disadvantages. Let’s begin!
Table Of Contents
How Does A Vegetarian Diet Aid Quick Weight Loss?
1. Research Shows A Vegetarian Diet Is Low In Calories
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that people who were on a vegetarian diet consumed fewer calories than those on diets with high-protein meat (2).
Consuming fewer calories is the first strategic step toward weight loss. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc. are naturally low in calories.
2. Vegetarian Diets Are Low In Saturated Fat And Cholesterol
A vegetarian diet is loaded with veggies, fruits, whole grains, plant-based proteins, healthy fats, etc. Since a major part of the energy comes from these sources, a vegetarian diet is low in unhealthy fats like saturated fats and cholesterol (5). As a result, people on a vegetarian diet have a lower BMI (6).
A vegetarian diet will help lower bad cholesterol and saturated fat intake, which will ultimately lead to quicker weight loss.
3. The Dietary Fiber In A Vegetarian Diet Increases Satiety
The American Heart Association recommends consuming 25-30 g of dietary fiber per day. Unfortunately, most Americans only consume 15 g of dietary fiber per day (7). Increasing your dietary intake by switching to a vegetarian diet will help improve satiety levels.
Dietary fiber forms a gel-like layer in the stomach, which slows down digestion and absorption of food. Basically, you will retain the food in your stomach for a long duration. As a result, you do not feel hungry quickly (8).
Dietary fiber also draws water from the body to the intestine, which helps soften the stool. Dietary fiber also adds bulk to the stool. The result of this action improves bowel movement and prevents constipation (9).
4. A Vegetarian Diet Improves Gut Microbiota And Digestion
Humans cannot digest dietary fiber. But the good gut bacteria present in the stomach help break down dietary fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids (10). The short-chain fatty acids help in regulating appetite and glucose levels (11).
Consuming veggies, fruits, and whole grains helps improve beneficial bacteria like Ruminococcus, E. rectale, and Roseburia, and reduces pathogens like Clostridium and Enterococcus species (12).
This, in turn, also helps improve digestion and faster metabolism.
5. Plant-Based Proteins Can Help Control Appetite
Animal proteins are not necessary for appetite control. Plant-based proteins like lentils and pulses, beans, legumes, and soy products can help. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people on a soy protein diet can have the same control over appetite as people on a meat diet (13).
6. A Vegetarian Diet Helps Regulate Blood Glucose
High dietary fiber content, low-saturated fat, increased vitamins and minerals, low-calorie foods, increased satiety, and better digestion and metabolism help in better regulation of blood glucose levels (14).
These are the scientific ways how a vegetarian diet aids weight loss. Let’s take a look at a 7-day vegetarian diet plan. Scroll down.
7-Day Vegetarian Diet Chart For Weight Loss
This 7-day vegetarian diet is designed in a way that you lose weight without feeling hungry all the time.
Your calorie consumption will drop from 1800 to 1200 calories, increase to 2000 calories, and again lower to 1500 calories.
This is intentional. Being on a 1200-calorie diet constantly may stop the body from responding to the low-cal diet. A caloric shock (cheat meal) is, therefore, necessary. With that in mind, scroll down for the 7-day vegetarian diet plan for weight loss.
Day 1 (1800 Calories)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water, soaked overnight
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 1 cup of oatmeal with ground flaxseeds and a banana
- Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of watermelon + 4 almonds
- Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of brown rice with grilled tofu, tomatoes, onions, and spinach + 1 cup of buttermilk
- Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + 1 apple
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.) – 2 small whole wheat flatbreads + 1 cup of chickpea curry + slices of cucumber, carrot, and beetroot + 1 cup of full-fat warm milk before bed
Day 2 (1500 Calories)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of water with 1 lime and 2 teaspoons organic honey
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.)– 1 cup of multigrain flakes with strawberries, almonds, dates, and apple
- Mid Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of pineapple with a dash of lime juice and pink Himalayan salt
- Lunch (12:30 p.m.)– Boiled black beans + baby spinach + cucumber with light dressing + 1 cup of yogurt
- Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.)– Boiled lentils with chili-garlic flavored stir-fried veggies + 1 cup of warm full-fat milk
Day 3 (1200 Calories)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) –10 ml wheatgrass juice
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) –1 cup of muesli + full-fat milk + blueberries + chia seeds + 1 teaspoon of organic honey
- Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.)– 1 cup of green tea or a fruit of your choice
- Lunch (12:30 p.m.)– Broccoli + sweet corn + cucumber + mushroom salad with olive oil dressing
- Snack (3:30 p.m.)– 10 in-shell pistachios (unsalted) + 1 cup of green tea
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.)– Butternut squash soup + 1 garlic multigrain bread + 1 cup of warm full-fat milk
Day 4 (1200 Calories)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.)– 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 8 fluid ounce strawberry, banana, milk, and chia seeds smoothie
- Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.)– 1 cup of green tea + 1 apple
- Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – Vegetable quinoa salad + 1 cup of full-fat yogurt
- Snack (3:30 p.m.)– 1 cup of green tea + ½ cup of popcorn (no butter, very less salt)
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.)– 1 cup of kidney bean chili + cucumber and beetroot + 1 cup of warm milk
Day 5 (1500 Calories)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of water with 1 lime and 2 teaspoons of organic honey
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.)– 2 avocado pesto toast + 1 cup of green tea/black coffee
- Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of watermelon
- Lunch (12:30 p.m.)– ½ cup of spinach brown rice + pumpkin and Bengal gram curry + 1 cup of buttermilk
- Snack (3:30 p.m.)– 1 cup of freshly pressed fruit juice
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.)– Smoked tofu and kale salad + 1 cup of warm milk before bed
Day 6 (2000 Calories; Cheat Meal Day)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) –10 ml wheatgrass juice
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) –1 cup of oatmeal + 1 cup of green tea
- Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) –1 cup of muskmelon
- sauteedLunch (12:30 p.m.) – –1 cup of sautéedveggies + 1 cup of boiled lentils
- Snack (3:30 p.m.) –2-3 baked potato/potato jackets and spinach cakes with yogurt dip
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.) –½ cup of mushroom risotto + chocolate mousse
Day 7 (1500 Calories)
- Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) –1 cup of water with 1 lime and 2 teaspoons of organic honey
- Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) –1 cup of oatmeal with banana and 4 almonds
- Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) –1 cup of green tea/black coffee
- Lunch (12:30 p.m.) –2 cottage cheese lettuce wraps + 1 cup of buttermilk
- Snack (3:30 p.m.) –1 cup of green tea + 15 in-shell pistachios
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.) –1 cup of boiled black beans, spinach, and corn salad + 1 cup of warm milk
Apart from the foods listed in the diet chart, you can also consume the following.
What Can Vegetarians Eat For Weight Loss?
- Vegetarian Protein-Rich Foods: Kidney beans, black beans, lentils and pulses, chickpea, cowpea, black-eyed peas, peas, soybean, edamame, tofu, mushrooms, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, homemade curd, whole milk, and soy milk.
- Vegetarian Dietary Fiber Foods
- Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrot, beetroot, kale, cabbage, bok choy, scallions, tomato, cucumber, okra, eggplant, radish, turnip, Chinese cabbage, purple cabbage, onion, celery, fennel, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, yam, arugula, and Swiss chard.
- Fruits: Apple, orange, tangerine, grapes, pineapple, pear, peach, guava, pluot, prune, apricot, passionfruit, litchi, avocado, papaya, grapefruit, banana, watermelon, and muskmelon.
- Healthy Fats: Almonds, pistachios, macadamia, pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, rice bran oil, peanut butter, and sunflower butter.
- Whole Grains: Red rice, black rice, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, wheat, buckwheat, sorghum, barley, and oats.
- Vegetarian Low-Cal Snacks: Kale chips, beetroot, chips, sesame seed fat bombs,homemade granola bar, homemade spinach/onion fritters, air fried snack, a handful of almonds, 10-15 in-shell pistachios, green tea, multigrain biscuit, freshly pressed fruit/vegetable juice, 1 or 2 saltine crackers, and black coffee.
- Beverages: Water, green tea, oolong tea, matcha tea, coconut water, freshly pressed fruit juice and vegetable juice, black coffee, fenugreek seed soaked water, lime water, and detox water.
- Herbs And Spices: Garlic, ginger, fenugreek, chili, cumin, coriander powder, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, thyme, dill, fennel, basil, turmeric, pepper, chili flakes, ginger powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, and nigella seeds.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the foods you must avoid.
Which Foods To Avoid
- Fried foods
- Frozen foods like potato wedges, cheese balls, frozen soy meat, peas, etc.
- Packaged foods like ready-to-eat noodles, curries, chapati, paranthas, fruit juice, vegetable juice, health drinks, packaged buttermilk, almond milk, peanut milk, etc.
- Fast foods like burger and pizza.
- Sugary foods like candies, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc.
- Foods rich in refined flour and trans fats like croissants, puff pastry, biscuits, etc.
- Foods rich in sodium.
Apart from weight loss, following a vegetarian diet has many other health benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Vegetarian Diet?
- Research shows that a vegetarian diet helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (17).
- Scientific studies have found that a vegetarian diet helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (15), (16).
- Vegetarians have a lower mortality rate (18).
- The long-term health of vegetarians and vegans seems to be good, which includes reduced risk of eye cataract, improved brain and neuronal function, and lower risk of obesity (19).
- A vegetarian diet reduces the risk of gout and kidney stones.
- A vegetarian diet also helps reduce the consumption of hormone-treated animal meat.
- A vegetarian diet reduces carbon print.
However, there are a few disadvantages of a vegetarian diet.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Vegetarian Diet?
- Vegetarian sources of protein may not contain all essential amino acids. Consult a dietitian to know your body’s protein requirements and which food groups to consume to get all the essential amino acids.
- Plant protein is not enough for building lean muscle. You must consume protein supplements.
- This diet might not be ideal for bodybuilders. But some bodybuilders are vegans.
- It may cause hair fall in people who are habituated to eating animal protein regularly.
- It may cause muscle and bone weakness.
To counteract a few of the disadvantages, do the following.
Precautions To Take
- Consume vegetarian protein powders.
- Consume calcium supplements.
- Get regular check-ups done.
If you want to lose weight and improve your health, a vegetarian diet is the best. Try the 7-day vegetarian diet for at least a month. Also, do a mix of cardio and strength training. You will be in better physical and mental shape. Don’t wait. Start today!
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Do vegetarians get enough protein?
Being vegetarian works in favor of good health and metabolism. Though chicken and eggs are rich sources of protein, they are not the only ones. Vegetarians can cover their daily requirement of protein with different grains and legumes. Research says that an entire daily meal need not be protein-based. As long as your body gets its quota of 55 grams of protein every day, you are good.
Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, nuts, tofu, and quinoa are some of the richest sources of protein. They are easy to digest and have the right balance of amino acids that your body needs.
Is the vegetarian diet the healthiest way to eat?
There is no doubt that a well¬-balanced vegetarian diet is the healthiest way to eat. The reason is simple: it is easy to digest and boosts your metabolism. A vegetarian diet has all the necessary components like calcium, minerals, protein, and vitamins required for the healthy functioning of your body.
A wholesome vegetarian diet will keep you away from diseases and deficiencies. It balances your cholesterol levels, boosts your energy, and keeps digestion disorders at bay. The lifespan of a vegetarian is said to be higher than that of a non-¬vegetarian. Thus, doctors often prescribe a vegetarian lifestyle as a part of the treatment of various diseases.
What’s so good about a vegetarian diet?
Everything! A vegetarian diet includes wholesome and balanced foods that get digested easily and boost metabolism. It is often the best solution to combat chronic disorders, obesity, allergies, blood pressure, and skin diseases. It lowers the risk of cancer and helps women with hormonal imbalances.
People who opt for a vegetarian diet have higher energy and are less prone to diseases that originate from being overweight. Vegetarians are also calmer and live a longer, healthier life when compared to non-¬vegetarians. Consuming nutritious, fibrous, and antioxidant-¬rich meals is the best way to achieve good health.
Are vegetarians really healthier in the long run?
Vegetarians are healthier than non-¬vegetarians in the long run. A wholesome vegetarian meal includes all the necessary components required for a healthy body and mind. Vegan foods have the right balance of vitamins, minerals, calcium, zinc, protein, carbs, and iron, all of which boost metabolism and keep the digestive system in order.
When the calorie consumption is less, obesity and other chronic disorders are kept at bay. Vegetarians are high on energy and less prone to common ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure. They are usually fit, disease¬-free, and energetic.
Can vegetarian diets lead to some nutritional deficiencies?
If a vegetarian diet is not balanced and fails to fulfill the necessary nutritional requirements, it could lead to various deficiencies. Studies have shown that many vegetarians end up with protein deficiencies and lack long¬-chain fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and B12 in their diet. Lack of nutrition can also lead to calcium, iron, and zinc deficiencies.
But that does not make the vegetarian diet the culprit. It’s the wrong food choices. A wholesome vegetarian meal can never go wrong. Including fiber-rich and antioxidant-rich foods in your meal, getting your complete dose of nutrition, and thinking before eating will keep deficiencies at bay.
What is the beginner vegetarian shopping list?
You can buy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and oils, dairy, herbs, and spices. Avoid red meat, white meat, and eggs.
What is the difference between vegetarian and vegan diets?
Vegans do not consume all animal products such as meat, poultry, honey, dairy, etc., while vegetarians consume honey and dairy products.
- Vegetarian diets almost twice as effective in reducing body weight, study finds (2017), Journal of the American College of Nutrition, ScienceDaily.
- Nutritional adequacy of plant-based diets for weight management: observations from the NHANES, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oxford Academic.
- Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight, Perspectives On Psychological Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Increased vegetable and fruit consumption during weight loss effort correlates with increased weight and fat loss, Nutrition & Diabetes, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Nutrition concerns and health effects of vegetarian diets, Nutrition In Clinical Practice, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Low-Calorie Vegetarian Versus Mediterranean Diets for Reducing Body Weight and Improving Cardiovascular Risk Profile: CARDIVEG Study (Cardiovascular Prevention With Vegetarian Diet), Circulation, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary fiber and weight regulation, Nutrition Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary fibre intakes and reduction in functional constipation rates among Canadian adults: a cost-of-illness analysis, Food & Nutrition Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota, Gut Microbes, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Role of Gut Microbiota-Generated Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health, Current Nutrition Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The Effects of Vegetarian and Vegan Diets on Gut Microbiota, Frontiers in Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Appetite control and biomarkers of satiety with vegetarian (soy) and meat-based high-protein diets for weight loss in obese men: a randomized crossover trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oxford Academic.
- A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes, Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Vegetarian Diets and the Risk of Diabetes, Current Diabetes Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Cardiovascular Diagnosis & Therapy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Cardiovascular Disease, Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Beyond meatless, the health effects of vegan diets: findings from the Adventist cohorts, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The long-term health of vegetarians and vegans, The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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