How to lose weight on a Vegetarian Diet

A common discussion nowadays in every household or a public gathering is weight and, to be more specific, weight loss amongst women. Many of us would go gaga over following diets that may not meet our nutrient needs but are followed blindly. The selection of a vegetarian diet is often cultural, religious, and sometimes for health purposes for allergies or intolerances.

 So here, I will discuss some weight-loss strategies concerning vegetarian diet, types of vegetarian foods, and their effects on calories because a vegetarian diet can meet the body’s needs healthily if appropriately planned.

A general vegetarian diet’s concept is the one with no meat, dairy products, fish, poultry, or any other animal-based product but science classifies this into three categories:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: A dietary modification that includes eggs and milk but excludes all other animal products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: A dietary modification that eliminates all animal source food except dairy products (cheese, milk, etc.)
  • Strict vegetarian (Vegan): A dietary modification that excludes every source of animal.

A diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, beans, whole grain products can be especially beneficial for hypertensive, cardiac, diabetic patients, and those with high cholesterol levels. It regulates the gut movement and prevents complications of intestines.



Nutritional Concerns of a Vegetarian Diet:

A person on a vegetarian diet may be lacking on some essential nutrients as those are obtained from animal food. So, a well planned, balanced diet focus on these few nutrients that are hard to get.

Protein: Generally, good protein sources are animal meal and dairy products of all sorts. Still, since in a vegetarian way of life, you can be deficient in proteins, but these are substitutable by legumes, soy and its products, corn, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.  

A vegetarian diet provides incomplete amino acids, that’s why those following one are recommended to have a combination of proteins from two sources to complement each other like beans with rice or corn, bread with peanut butter spread.

Calcium: Lacto-Ovo and Lacto vegetarians are at a lower risk of calcium deficiency than vegans as they consume milk, yogurt, and cheese. Strict vegetarians should eat and drink substitute diets to cater to calcium deficiency like calcium-fortified juices and cereals, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, broccoli, legumes, dried figs, ample amount of dark green leafy vegetables (mustard and turnip greens, kale, collards) and tofu products.

Women of reproductive age should ensure adequate calcium supply to support bone maintenance, development, and muscle contraction along with countless benefits.

The following foods provide 300mg approx. calcium (1 cup cow milk equivalent)

1 cup calcium-fortified soy milk, nut milk3 cups cooked dried beans
1 2/3 cups sunflower seeds1 cup almonds
1 cup cooked collards or kale1.5 oz. chia seeds

Iron: High iron foods on a vegetarian diet include

  • Legumes
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Prune juice
  • Soy nuts and products
  • Iron-fortified cereals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Mix dried fruits
  • Blackstrap molasses

Iron intake should be in combination with vitamin C sources for excellent absorption and maximum benefit.

Zinc: As zinc is obtained from animal sources and a vegetarian person can be very low on it so add the following sources of zinc in diet:

  • Cashews and almonds
  • Tofu
  • Chia, flax and sunflower seeds
  • Dried beans
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Wheat germ
  • Peas

Vitamin B-12: The most commonly found deficiency in vegetarians is of this vitamin as it is exclusively found in non-vegetarian foods. Lacto-Ovo can get their vitamin B12 from dairy sources and eggs, but vegans shall consume fortified cereals and supplements as recommended by an RD.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is quandary to calcium intake. Vegans must have adequate sunlight exposure to prevent its deficiency; otherwise, supplementation is warranted. 



Clear Liquid Diet:

This kind of diet is usually post-operative and contains 500-600kcals, 5-10g protein, and 120-130 g fats with 120-130g carbohydrate. Since a clear liquid diet is inadequate in calories so it should be used for a shorter period.

A clear liquid diet for vegetarians includes:

  • Tea
  • Broth
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Clear fruit juices
  • Clear vegetable soups
  • Gelatin
  • Meal replacement shakes

A clear liquid diet is not always a good strategy for weight loss due to excessive restriction of calories but can be applied for a shorter period. Meal replacement drinks are comparatively a better option for weight loss in vegans. It is a good approach to be on clear liquids after a weight loss surgery equally in vegans and non-vegans.

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Oatmeal Diet:

Probably the most healthful weight loss diet that is popular nowadays is an oatmeal diet. Apart from its potential benefits in weight loss it is also helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure boosts immunity and reduces the risk of heart diseases.

There are variations in oatmeal diets and it is divided into 3 phases by experts.

Phase 1: Three-time oatmeal inclusive diet along with fruits, vegetables, or nuts occasionally. Oats to be consumed should be whole

Phase 2: Three-time oatmeal a day and addition of half cup of fruits and vegetables to each meal.

Phase 3: One meal in a day should have oats with regular healthful meals throughout the day.

Oatmeal diet recipes:

  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Rolled oats
  • Apple pie oatmeal
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies
  • Blueberries and cream oatmeal
  • Spinach oats

Oatmeal is a kind of food that helps to feel full due to its sticky texture that stays in our stomach and intestines for a long time, thus lessens the desire to overeat or munch in vain. It is high in fiber that cuts cholesterol levels in the body, especially LDL (bad cholesterol) hence, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Oatmeal combined with healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables provides rich amounts of B vitamin complex, minerals, and vitamins. Oatmeal diet can significantly healthily reduce weight.

Egg Diet:

A kind of dietary approach in which egg is the star of the dish with poached, boiled, or scrambled eggs. This is a low carbohydrate, low fat, and low caloric diet which has shown proved weight loss results in just a few days with protein replacing fats and cutting off fats in the body, that’s why fried eggs and oil cooked eggs and other foods are not a part of it. Eggs are rich in proteins, antibodies, fat, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin A and a few B complex vitamins.

Foods excluded in egg diets are saturated fats and unsaturated fats, sweets, and sweetened foods and starchy carbohydrates including potato. Peas etc.

Foods that are allowed are lean meats, low carbohydrate vegetables, and fruits. The main purpose here is to have at least one meal with eggs as the main part of your meal.

How to lose weight on a Vegetarian Diet 1

There exist a few kinds of egg diets

  1. 14-day egg diet: It is a 3 meal per day diet with only one meal from eggs and the rest from lean meat, vegetables, and fruits. Pasta, bread, and rice are not allowed as they are high carb foods.
  • Grapefruit and egg diet: It is also a 3 meal per day diet but with a variation that no other fruits than grapefruit be included with eggs.
  • Egg only diet: This is an extremely unhealthy weight loss regimen where one only consumes hard-boiled eggs and water for two weeks with no exercise recommended.

Potato diet:

This diet encourages eating potato for three to five days straight and helps to lose almost more than 1 pound a day. It is a diet that can be applied for a short-term course also known as potato hack.

Potato Diet Rules

  • Rule 1. Eat only plain, cooked potatoes for three to five days.
  • Rule 2. As a general rule, eat 2–5 pounds (0.9–2.3 kg) of potatoes each day.
  • Rule 3. Don’t eat any other foods, including condiments and toppings, such as ketchup, butter, sour cream, and cheese.
  • Rule 4. A little salt is fine to use but better avoid it.
  • Rule 5. Drink water, plain tea, or black coffee when thirsty.
  • Rule 6. Heavy exercise is not recommended.
  • Rule 7. Take your usual medications as directed by your physician, but refrain from using any unprescribed dietary supplements.

Since potatoes are low in calories it can help with weight loss other benefits like its affordable and not complicated as well as high in fiber. Remember to go onto this diet for no more than 5 days.

Ideal protein diet:

This diet is a ketogenic regimen that involves including fats and cutting of carbs to lead the body into ketosis state- fat burning. There are three major phases in which this diet works.

Phase 1Weight loss:

This is to optimize fat loss by restricting carbohydrate intake through ketosis. You’ll remain in phase one until you have reached your goals.

Phase 2 Stabilization:

Stabilization is about narrowing the energy gap where more calories are desired than required, and the body fights to regain the lost weight. It is done by adjusting the intake of protein, carbs, and fats effectively to maintain weight loss. A dietitian or health care professional can help you with weekly sessions to monitor, motivate and track your record,

Phase 3 Maintenance:

This phase starts 12 months after the stabilization phase in which one is taught about how to maintain weight while enjoying most of their favorite foods.

 Here I’ll share some foods you can have on an ideal protein diet.

Breakfast:

  • Maple oatmeal
  • Chocolate chip pancakes
  • Crispy cereal
  • Cheese omelet

Dessert:

  • Double chocolate brownies
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Raspberry gelatin
  • Caramel chocolate mug cake  

Drinks:

  • Vanilla drink
  • Chocolate drink
  • Cappuccino

Soups:

  • Broccoli and cheese soup
  • Chicken chowder
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Mushroom soup

Another strategy used by many is the use of keto pills that leads the body in the state of ketosis and burns fats. It is better to be on a keto diet for a specific time rather than use keto pills for a short-term intervention for rapid results. Always consult a registered dietitian or a doctor for the type of diet that bests suits you and the supplements. 

BY: MAHNOOR FAHEEM



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