Are you considering a vegetable diet to lose weight? If so, you are on the right track. A vegetable-based diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce body fat and risk of chronic illness.
The Science of Vegetables
We all know vegetables are good for us, but will a diet based on plant foods actually help lose weight? A number of studies comparing vegetable-based diets have come up with the same conclusion: people who avoid animal products typically have a leaner frame and lower risk of illness than their meat-eating counterparts. Consider the following:
A 2009 study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the body composition of vegetarian Buddhist nuns with that of omnivorous Catholic nuns. Women in both groups were of similar age and lived very similar lifestyles, with the one marked difference being dietary meat intake. While both groups had average bodyweights that fell within the range of normal, the vegetarian group had significantly lower BMIs than the meat-eating group. Women who had followed vegetarian diets the longest had the lowest BMIs, while more recent vegetarians had body compositions more similar to omnivores. Interestingly, the nutritional status of women in the two groups were similar, with some vegetarian participants actually having more favorable levels of vitamins and minerals in their systems.
Vegetable Diets Prevent Obesity and Diabetes
Another study published in 2009, this time in the journal Diabetes Care, examined the relationship between degrees of vegetarianism, obesity and risk of diabetes. When comparing vegans with partial vegetarians and people following an omnivorous diet, the study found vegans, who follow very strict dietary principles and eat only plant foods, had an average five-point difference in BMI, and non-vegetarians were roughly two and a half times as likely as vegans to develop type 2 diabetes after other lifestyle factors were taken into consideration.
How Vegetable Diets Fight Obesity
Vegetables are generally high in nutrients, water and fiber while being low in fat and calories. This adds up to a food source that is nutritionally adequate as well as filling and satisfying. Regularly eating a diet high in vegetables will also train your palate to crave crispy, crunchy, tasty vegetables instead of greasy, sugary, salty foods. By following a diet that focuses on increasing vegetable intake, you are sure to reduce your overall calorie intake while making sure you are still getting enough nutrition so your body doesn't feel deprived. This will help reduce cravings and increase the chance you'll be able to stick with your diet in the long term.
Choosing a Vegetable Diet to Lose Weight
Whether you are looking to try a juice fast, become completely vegan or simply add a few more fresh vegetables to your daily meal plans, you will be doing your body a favor by increasing your intake of fresh vegetables. Whatever your comfort level, try the following tips to get the most out of your vegetable diet to lose weight:
- Try to eat mostly whole, fresh, unprocessed vegetables whenever possible. Canned, packaged and frozen vegetables are still good for you, but will lack many of the vitamins and enzymes you'll get with living food.
- Eat a minimum of one vegetable serving with each meal, and choose vegetables for snacks between meals.
- For a nutritious energy boost, try a green smoothie for breakfast or as a post-workout meal.
- Think outside the box! Try foods you wouldn't normally eat like wheat grass or sprouted grains as part of your new, healthy vegetable-based diet.
If you are in the habit of eating sugar, salt and fat-laden foods, it will take a while before you can really appreciate the taste of a vegetable diet. However, once you adjust to detecting subtleties of flavor and texture in the myriad vegetable options on your plate, you will wonder how you were ever satisfied by such a bland and boring diet.