From melting body fat overnight to curing cancer and preventing diabetes, the many health claims behind the “plant-based” trend are enough to make you sit up and listen. Many people turn to vegetarian and vegan diets as a miracle weight-loss solution, however, without realizing that cutting meat and dairy from their diets is not the whole answer.
Internet health forums are flooded with messages from those who’ve made the switch to a vegan diet and haven’t lost any weight. If you’re one of them, you might be wondering how you’re still not shrinking, despite how many unhealthy foods you’ve cut from your diet. To help you understand more about the connection between plant-based foods and weight loss, here are three hard truths that could be hindering your efforts.
Calories Still Count
If you consume more energy than you burn off, then you’re going to gain weight. It doesn’t matter whether your calories come from a kale salad or a burger and fries – equal calories contain the same amount of energy, and if you eat too many, you will not lose weight unless you counteract them with exercise. It may not be as simple as the myth that claims all calories are created equal, but there’s no doubt that energy consumption plays a huge role in weight loss.
Many vegan food staples, such as whole grains, plants, fruit, nuts, and seeds, provide the body with essential nutrients and will keep you feeling fuller for longer, so eating more of these foods is always a sensible choice. When it comes to weight loss, however, it’s not the whole answer.
Portion Control Is Everything
We all recognize the importance of portion control when it comes to weight loss, but many advocates of plant-based diets claim that you can eat whatever you want when you eat “clean” or plant-based, and this simply isn’t true. Everyone is different, and although some people might be able to tell when they’ve had enough to eat, others will have different metabolic rates or they may not be in tune with their hunger cues.
It’s easy to see the logic behind the “eat less, move more” mantra, but in reality, these disciplines are not that simple. It’s not always possible to track how much you’re eating, particularly if you snack throughout the day or have second helpings at dinnertime. If you’re reluctant to count calories or weigh your portions, try using smaller plates and bowls, and always read the recommended serving sizes on your food packaging. If you need a little more help controlling your portions, you could use a service like Muscle Up Meals for healthy meal delivery Los Angeles.
Not All Plant-Based Foods Are Healthy
Just because something doesn’t contain meat or dairy, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. You can get vegan ice-cream, chocolate cake, sweets and meat substitutes, but they are normally loaded with salt and sugar. Plus, many of these foods contain more calories than their non-plant-based counterparts, so always read the ingredients, and don’t be fooled by that vegan label.
It’s important to remember that you can get any diet wrong if you overeat, so going plant-based won’t necessarily help you lose weight. Combining a healthy, balanced diet high in fruit, vegetables and healthy fats with exercise and portion control will help you stay healthy and gives you the best chance of success from your weight-loss efforts.