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Vegetarian Diet Plan: A Healthy Path to Weight Loss?

Author: Anna Frinzi

Have you ever thought about trying to be a vegetarian?

It is known to be a healthful diet plan and has a multitude of positive benefits.

Let’s take a deeper look at this diet plan and what preparation is needed to follow the guidelines and meet nutrition recommendations.

What is a Vegetarian Diet?

There are different types of vegetarians that are divided by categories with the foods that are included in that particular diet. Here are some of the most common categories of vegetarians:

  • Vegans: Eat only plant foods such as fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts.
  • Lacto-vegetarians: Eat plant foods and dairy products like milk and cheese. Excludes meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allows eggs.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Eat plant foods, dairy products and eggs. This diet excludes meat, fish and poultry.
  • Pescatarian: Excludes meat and poultry, dairy and eggs but allows fish.

When considering these different types of vegetarianism, it can be helpful to consider your values around food and what benefits you are hoping for with this style of eating. With all of these vegetarian diet plans, it is vital to choose a variety of foods in order to ensure the correct amount of nutrients for your body. Before starting any diet, you should always consult a medical professional before beginning to ensure you are meeting proper dietary recommendations.

Consider Your Nutrient Intake

With a vegetarian diet plan, it is essential to consume a variety of foods and the correct amount of foods to meet your caloric and nutrient needs. This recommendation differs based on your age, sex, and activity level. A vegetarian diet is approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for all parts of the life cycle. This diet is beneficial to all stages of life including lactation, pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adults, and even athletes. The key is to meet your recommended nutrition needs! Recommendations for a proper vegetarian eating plan can be found here as listed in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A vegetarian diet is included as one of its highlighted healthy eating patterns and provides the evidence that it can meet these recommendations. With this in mind, vegetarians may need to focus a stronger effort on the specific nutrients of protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. It is vital to include an adequate amount of foods with these nutrients and discover realistic options to add them into your routine.

Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there are numerous health benefits to adhering to a vegetarian diet when planned appropriately. Those on a vegetarian or vegan diet have a reduced risk of a multitude of certain diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, among other health conditions (Melina). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that risks for alcoholism, constipation and gallstones are reduced with a vegetarian approach to eating. The style of eating on this diet plan includes a lower intake of fats and a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and other whole foods that lower LDL levels and control glucose levels more efficiently. Eating healthfully and foods closer to the earth adds to the benefit of following a vegetarian diet plan.  In general, eating more plant-based foods and avoiding foods high in sugar or processed will lead to a more healthful approach to your diet.

Vegetarianism and Weight Loss

With these plentiful benefits, scientific research has discovered that when comparing non-vegetarians to Western vegetarians, vegetarians have a lower BMI (Key). Another study on vegetarians found that those who tend to eat more plant-based foods such as whole fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, and whole grains tend to have a lower risk of obesity. Although following a vegetarian does not guarantee immediate weight loss results, it can encourage a healthier way of eating with less fatty foods and refined sugars. If you are considering a vegetarian diet, it is best to consult your doctor or a health professional to discuss the details and ensure you are meeting dietary recommendations. With a desire to lose weight, following a vegetarian diet can be helpful but it is important to reflect on your lifestyle holistically when embarking on a weight loss journey.

Noom Guides You to Lose Weight Healthfully

With Noom, you can follow a vegetarian diet plan and have other sources of motivation alongside your journey to reach your weight loss goals. You are encouraged to follow the style of eating that works sufficiently for you whether that be vegetarianism, veganism, intermittent fasting, or one of the many methods out there. You will then have a coach as your guide to set weekly goals and work towards your Super Goal that is set at the beginning of the program. A little-known fact about Noom, it is the word “moon” backwards as it is a constant guiding force to your journey that never disappears and will always be there to support you.Noom stands by that philosophy and encourages you to check out this method in order to lose weight and maintain the changes made!