Finding the right weight loss diet can be a real struggle. There are numerous diet plans out there all promising to induce weight loss. However, most of them are either too restrictive or energy-depriving. Luckily, health experts have found exactly what everyone is looking for – a highly nutritious and sustainable plant-based diet that can boost weight loss, bring health benefits, and is not at all restrictive. With the plant-based diet, one can enjoy the process of losing weight without feeling deprived or low in energy.
In this article, you will discover the different types of plant-based diets, how the plant-based diet works to induce weight loss, and how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle using our expert-approved strategies. Let’s dive right in!
Types of Plant-Based Diets
The plant-based diet, as its name suggests, is one that completely or mostly consists of plant-derived ingredients. The plant-based diet excludes all or consists of very few animal-derived foods. Below are 3 types of plant-based diets:
The Vegan Diet
A vegan diet is one that excludes all forms of animal-derived foods including foods that have been processed using animal ingredients. Research shows that a vegan diet can result in a greater loss in weight as compared to the pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous diets.
The Vegetarian Diet
A vegetarian diet is one that focuses on plants as a major source of food. A vegetarian consumes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, plant-derived fats, and proteins. A vegetarian diet also allows for eggs and cheese AN less restrictive than a vegan diet.
The Fruitarian Diet
A Fruitarian diet is one that consists mainly of raw fruits as the major source of energy with moderate amounts of vegetables and nuts. The fruitarian diet aims at promoting raw foods that require minimal preparation time.
Why Choose a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet has incredible health benefits. A plant-based diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients needed by the body to ensure good health. Research shows that a plant-based diet can lower the occurrence of heart problems.
Numerous health experts also state that a plant-based diet is a sustainable diet as it is filling and does not lead to hunger pangs unlike what most weight-loss diets do.
How to Lose Weight on a Plant-Based Diet
Opt for a High-Fiber Plant-Based Diet
Leading health experts from all around the globe recommend consuming a high-fiber diet to optimize weight loss. Experts recommend consuming around 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. But how exactly do fibers work? Well, the weight loss-boosting property of fibers can be attributed to their ‘’stomach-filling’’ property. A review of 62 trials published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that viscous fibers can indeed improve body weight, waist circumference, and body fat. Healthful sources of viscous fibers include beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and oats.
Other than increasing satiety, fibers have other amazing health benefits such as improving bowel movement, lowering cholesterol levels, and controlling blood sugar levels.
2: Choose Metabolism-Boosting Plants
While it may sound too good to be true, some vegetables and fruits can boost metabolism to help the body burn fat on its own. Beans contain a form of starch known as resistant starch which has been linked to a higher rate of metabolism. Dark green leafy vegetables contain an amazing agent known as thylakoid. Thylakoids can inhibit hunger. Interestingly, spinach, one of the world’s healthiest foods also seems to possess fat-burning properties. Studies show that spinach extract can reduce cravings and increase weight loss with 43%. Research also shows that capsaicin, the active component found in chili peppers, can increase energy expenditure by an extra 50 calories per day.
Eat More Nutrient-Rich and Delicious Foods
Counting calories is exhausting, inefficient, and non-sustainable. This leads to a huge dip in motivation over the long run as it feels uncomfortable, challenging, and too restrictive. Health experts reveal that the trick behind a successful and sustainable plant-based diet is to replace comfort foods with delicious yet healthy options so that one does not feel deprived. The internet is flourishing with thousands of delicious, mouth-watering plant-based recipes. Additionally, health professionals recommend giving up on starchy vegetables and opting for more whole foods. As for proteins, most experts agree that proteins can help reduce appetite by promoting the release of a hunger-suppressing hormone. Great sources of plant-derived proteins include nuts, seeds, tofu, and pulses.
Cut Down on Oils
While oils come from plant-based sources, consuming an excess of oil can make losing weight more difficult. That’s because oils are very rich in calories but possess little appetite-reducing properties. Experts recommend cutting down on unhealthy saturated oils such as coconut oil and opting for healthier oils such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil. Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil are unrefined unsaturated fats.
Opting for healthier cooking techniques can also help reduce the amount of oil one uses to prepare a certain dish. Stirring, sautéing, and baking are great techniques that require less oil. The best part is that not only do these techniques require less oil, they also retain more of a crop’s nutritional value and health benefits. Also, one must-know general rule to using cooking oils is to never heat an oil beyond its smoke point.
Watch Out for Hidden Unhealthy Plant-Based Foods
Unhealthy, sickening foods that claim to be healthy are everywhere. Today, sugar-loaded fruits juices containing lots of additives, and artificial flavors are being advertised as a ‘’healthy’’ alternative to carbonated drinks. Hence, plant-based is not necessarily synonymous with healthy. One should learn to watch out for unhealthy plant-based food options. The best plant-based options are whole and preferably organic.
Here the 6 hidden, unhealthy plant-based foods one should watch out for:
- Refined Grains
- Potato chips
- Sugary fruit juices
- Sweetened canned fruits
- Highly processed canned vegetables
- Plant-based burgers
Eat a Variety of Fruits & Veggies
Variety is more important than it seems. Varying between the types of vegetables and fruits is essential to ensure that one is receiving all the different types of vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients. Every nutrient plays its own specific role in the human body. Nutritional deficiencies are the last thing we want when it comes to practicing a weight loss diet. Don’t Skip Exercise and Basic Health Rules
No matter how perfect a diet can be, exercise will always remain an essential step to better health and weight management. Doctors recommend practicing exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. The best and most effective exercise program that has been developed for weight loss is the High-intensity Interval Training, HIIT workout. The HIIT workout consists of very intense cardio exercises followed by intervals of less intense recovery periods. However, any exercise that gets one’s heart pumping is good for health. Simple exercises that anyone can do include jogging, skipping, cycling, and even walking.
Last but not least, basic health rules such as drinking enough water, avoiding cigarettes, cutting down on alcoholic drinks, and dumping sugary drinks are a vital step towards reaching one’s perfect weight loss goal.
Turner-McGrievy, G., Davidson, C., Wingard, E., Wilcox, S. and Frongillo, E., 2015. Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial of five different diets. Nutrition, 31(2), pp.350-358.
Jovanovski, E., Mazhar, N., Komishon, A., Khayyat, R., Li, D., Blanco Mejia, S., Khan, T., L Jenkins, A., Smircic-Duvnjak, L., L Sievenpiper, J. and Vuksan, V., 2020. Can dietary viscous fiber affect body weight independently of an energy-restrictive diet? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 111(2), pp.471-485.
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