Trending: The Vegan Diet for Healthy, Sustainable Weight Loss. Bye, Bye Keto.
Right now everyone wants a piece of healthy weight-loss success, and more and more people are trying the Vegan Diet, also known as the Plant-Based Diet. Unlike keto diets, which are both hard to sustain and not heart-healthy over the long term, the Vegan Diet is a whole-food plant-based way of eating that is healthy, sustainable and offers immunity-boosting foods to keep your energy up and your defenses strong against getting sick, as you shed pounds.
There are several diets flying around the internet that include the Adele Diet, which is also known as the Sirtfood Diet. (We tried it and here's what happened.) Then there is Intermittent Fasting. (Which also works, as long as you eat healthy during the "on eating hours.")
More people are trying to eat plant-based than ever, right now: 23 percent of consumers are incorporating plant-based or vegan foods into their diet: Sales of plant-based meats are up 35 percent, while overall sales of all vegan foods are up 90 percent since the height of the COVID-19 crisis. It's only growing, as people want a diet that lets them lose weight and be healthy, and a vegan or plant-based "clean-eating" diet promises both: Healthy immunity, plus steady weight loss.
Healthy Weight Loss, Leaner Boy Composition With Plant-Based Protein
The Vegan Diet and Plant-Based Diet is winning now because it's healthier than other diets. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. You stay away from inflammation-boosting animal products and fill your plate with plant-based whole foods that are low in oil, minimally cooked, and full of fiber. And guess what? It works.
But the reason that the Vegan Diet is catching on right now is two-fold: One is that people are staying away from meat during the time of COVID-19, and the other is that the Vegan Diet helps you lose weight and build your immunity. It's also sustainable, healthy and natural. There is nothing more natural than eating a whole-food plant-based diet low in oils and fats.
The Vegan Diet is exactly what it sounds like: You eat tons of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. There's no point system or counting carbs, calories or net-carbs. You fill your plate with plant-based whole foods that are low in oil, minimally cooked, and full of fiber. If you can grow it, it's a "Go!" If you have to look for ingredients on a label and there are many, it's a "No-Go!" This simple way of losing weight is natural, intuitive, and sustainable. If you lose 2 pounds a week (which is a healthy rate) you can lose 12 pounds by 4th of July.
The Vegan Diet for Weight Loss is Popular During COVID-19
Why is the Vegan Diet having a moment? First of all meat processing plants are still rife with COVID-19 and just this week, Tyson was forced to shut down its biggest pork plant as one-fifth of the workforce, or 555 of the workers) tested positive for the virus. This means that supply chain interruptions promise to drive up the cost of meats and consumers are nervous that meat could spread the virus, although there is no evidence that this has happened yet.
Meanwhile, on the upside, the Vegan Diet is natural, allowing the dieter to fill up on vegetables and legumes, grains and nuts and seed, plus fruit -- all foods that are full of fiber, satisfyingly filling and offer plenty of dietary protein. In fact for the foods that offer the most protein, see this list. For most dieters, getting enough protein on a vegan diet starts with a bowl of oatmeal and plant-based milk, which gets you about one-quarter of the way there in an easy, low calory meal. For the Beginner's Guide to Going Plant-Based, which is a one-week Vegan Diet, click here.
Why the Vegan Diet Works: Fiber is a Dieter's Secret Weapon to Shed Fat
To fill up on healthy foods, the higher the fiber content the better. Fiber has been given a bad rap as a "regulator" for anyone who has trouble going to the bathroom, but in fact it's the "anti-carb" when it comes to eating healthy foods that spur weight loss. When diabetics are put on a strict low-carb diet they are coached to look for fiber since the fiber-to-carb ratio is more important than carbs alone. This is why fruit, though higher in carbs than vegetables, does not make you fat.
The fiber in the food you eat allows the body to access healthy nutrients while keeping blood sugar low and your insulin response in check. The lower your blood sugar, the lower your insulin response, and the less your body gets the signal to store the extra energy as fat.
The high-fiber content of fruits and vegetables means that the "net carb" effect offers all the nutrients at less of the calories, carbs, and unhealthy fat that animal products or highly processed foods deliver. So the key to losing weight on the Vegan Diet is choosing foods that are as close to nature grows them as possible. Whole foods that are plant-based, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains, make up a healthy assortment of vitamins and minerals proteins and complex carbs to make the person eating this way feel satisfied and full, never hungry and deprived, and still lose weight.
When your fat intake is low -- meaning no animal fat and minimal oils -- your body will mobilize ready energy from what is stored in the body. You use up your glycogen first, and as anyone knows who has taken a 45-minute spin class or run, you switch over your energy system when you run out of available stored energy in the muscles and the liver, and then start to burn off fat stores and pull energy out of storage. The Vegan Diet low in oils is a natural way to prompt your body to find energy from within, essentially revving your engines to burn fat faster.
Stay Healthy as You Lose Weight With Immune-Boosting Vegetables and Fruits
The Vegan Diet is full of vegetables and fruits offer immunity-boosting properties All the foods known to help boost your natural immunity are "on the list" for the Vegan Diet. Broccoli, mushrooms, peppers and citrus are among the 13 foods that offer the most immunity per bite.
The Vegan Diet can help you lose weight that is sustainable, by minimizing eating processed foods that are likely to be high in added sugar and fat, low in fiber, and full of additives. So while potato chips are mostly vegan, they don't make the cut because they are processed. The same goes for Twizzlers and other packaged foods that are only vegan because they don't contain animal products. To lose weight you have to think "if I can grow it, I can eat it." You have never seen a PopTart in a garden.
When you eat the Vegan Diet, you lose weight because you stay away from inflammation-boosting animal products and fill your plate with plant-based whole foods that are low in oil, plainly cooked, and full of fiber. And guess what? It works. You can lose up to 2 to 3 pounds a week and keep it off it you stick to a whole food plant-based –or vegan– diet.
For what foods are "on the list" and how much is recommended of each, check out the Vegan Food Pyramid. The basic idea on the Vegan Diet is to allow 55-60% of your calories from carbs, 20-25% from (plant-based) protein, and 15-25% from fat. For more on how to eat to lose weight on a nutrient-dense Vegan Diet, check out Eat for Life by Dr. Joel Fuhrman or The Plant-Based Solution by Dr. Joel Kahn, or How Not to Diet by Dr. Michael Greger.