ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Does a vegetarian diet help you lose weight?

Updated on June 8, 2007

Research has shown that, on average, people who follow a vegetarian diet eat fewer calories and less fat than nonvegetarians. Vegetarians also tend to have lower body weight relative to their height than nonvegetarians.

I recently study from Susan Berkow, PhD, CNS, and Neal Barnard, MD, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit group that supports vegetarian diets that when people want to lose weight, going vegetarian might be an advantage.

Berkow and Barnard reviewed 87 past studies by various researchers. They found that vegetarians were less likely to be obese and that vegetarian diets brought greater weight loss.

The reviewed studies generally used the word "vegetarian" for people who avoid meat but consume dairy products and eggs. "Vegans avoid all food products of animal origin," write Berkow and Barnard.

In weight loss studies, participants who had been randomly assigned to follow vegetarian or vegan diets lost more weight than those not on vegetarian diets.

Those studies were short and typically featured low-fat vegetarian diets. In several studies, participants were asked not to change their exercise habits. That way, their weight loss would have stemmed from diet, not extra exercise.

The review also included observational studies, in which participants weren't asked to change their diets. The observational studies showed that up to 6% of vegetarians were obese, compared with 5%-45% of nonvegetarians, and that vegetarians tended to weigh less than nonvegetarians.

Were those differences due to diet, or were other factors (such as exercise) important? The review doesn't provide the details of every study that was reviewed, so that's not clear.

Vegans and vegetarians typically eat diets that are higher in carbohydrates and dietary fiber and lower in calories, protein, total fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat, according to the review.

However, switching to a vegetarian diet doesn't guarantee weight loss. The basics of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are the same for everyone: Eat a healthy, well balanced diet and limit your portions. Vegetarians - like nonvegetarians - can make poor food choices that contribute to weight gain, such as large portions of high-fat, high-calorie foods or foods with little or no nutritional value.

For this reason, vegetarian diets should be as carefully planned as nonvegetarian diets to make sure they are nutritionally balanced. Choose a vegetarian eating plan that is low in fat and that provides all of the nutrients your body needs. Be sure to include protein-rich foods - especially if you follow a vegetarian diet that limits fish, eggs and dairy products. Protein is not only an essential nutrient, but it also helps you feel full longer - which can curb your urge to snack.

A diet that largely consists of fruits and vegetables will contain fewer calories. But be cautious of what else you add to your diet. Substituting large quantities of cheese and peanut butter for meat will add a significant amount of fat and calories to your diet. Limit your portions of high-fat protein substitutes. In addition, opt for low-fat protein substitutes, such as dried beans, low-fat cheese, reduced-fat peanut butter and soy products.

Cooking methods and condiments also factor into your calorie intake. Instead of frying, try steaming, boiling, grilling or roasting foods. If you stir-fry, reduce the amount of oil you use. Also, use smaller amounts - or lower-fat versions - of sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese and salad dressing in your food preparation.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)