Most people who are obsessed about losing weight and getting a fit body are turning vegetarian. People are not only expecting health benefits but also weight loss benefits from a vegetarian diet. However, some people complain of weight gain even when having a vegetarian diet. If you are wondering as to what could be causing you to gain weight on a vegetarian diet, you need to understand certain facts about weight management and a vegetarian diet. Knowing which foods to avoid can also help to maintain weight.
People believe that a vegetarian diet is safer for their health as compared to the variety of meats that are eaten by non-vegetarians. Moreover, studies reveal that vegan diets reduce the risk of several diseases such as diabetes, heart-related diseases, cancer, high levels of cholesterol and also blood pressure.
Though it is true that turning vegetarian reduces the risk of suffering from several types of diseases, it is not the best way to lose weight. If you too are amongst those who are putting on several pounds instead of losing them even after becoming a vegetarian, then you need to understand the changes to be made to your diet and which foods to avoid for proper weight management.
What Could be Causing You to Gain Weight on Vegetarian Diet?
If you are gaining weight on a vegetarian diet, then you need to analyze the reasons for it. Here are some of the most common causes of weight gain on a vegetarian diet.
- Increased Fiber Content – The fiber content in vegetarian food items is much more than that in non-vegetarian ones. Vegetarian food increases the fiber content in the intestinal tract which results in more water retention in the body as fiber holds back huge amounts of water. The excess water increases the weight of your body thereby adding pounds to it though the fat percentage in the body remains the same. So even with the fat loss, due to the retained water, you may be gaining weight on a vegetarian diet.
- Eating Processed and Starchy Food Items – When you stop eating meat products completely, the unhealthy kind of food items especially starchy and processed food items make their way to your plates quite easily. For example, instead of the extra serving of chicken or beef, you will now focus on eating more pastas, potatoes and grains which digest quite rapidly and make you feel hungry again, forcing you to eat more food quickly. This is a common cause of gaining weight on a vegetarian diet.
- Eating too Much Dairy Products – Studies reveal that many people who gain weight on a vegetarian diet often consume loads of dairy products. Having milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products in large quantities to compensate the meat products which have been given up can cause more trouble. Most dairy products are high in sugar content and full of calories. Consuming too much of these food items on a regular basis can result in weight gain quite rapidly, even when on a vegetarian diet.
- Drinking Smoothies and Shakes – After turning vegetarian, it is a common trend to drink 2 or 3 glasses of milkshakes and smoothies to help stay full without eating non-vegetarian food items. Smoothies and shakes are extremely rich in calories and instead of providing the body with essential nutrients, it just helps it to put on weight rapidly. It is always better to eat fresh and raw fruits instead of drinking a smoothie made out of it.
- Eating Wrong – If you have suddenly switched to a vegetarian diet, chances are that you simply do not know what to eat and what not to eat. You might include certain food items in your diet without knowing how calorie-rich or fattening it is and this is a common cause of gaining weight when on a vegetarian diet. Studies reveal that people who turn vegetarian often overeat food items such as seeds, nuts, oily food items and sweets; all of which are high in carbohydrate content and rich in calories, thereby causing rapid weight gain even on a vegetarian diet.
Foods to Avoid on a Vegetarian Diet
If you are gaining weight on a vegetarian diet, then you need to understand where you are going wrong. Just giving up meat products and animal fat is not enough to lose weight as being a vegetarian requires you to eat right and healthy if you wish to lose all those extra pounds. Also, care must be taken to prevent nutritional deficiencies when changing your diet; so choosing the right foods is important to lose weight and stay healthy. Eating foods rich in nutrients is the key to weight loss when following a vegetarian diet only.
Here are some of the foods to avoid if you wish to lose weight rapidly.
- Simple Carbs - The first food item which tops the list of foods to avoid is white rice, white pasta and refined flour. These food items are full of simple carbs and fat which can rapidly increase your body weight. Instead opt for whole grains such as brown rice and whole grain pasta which are extremely rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins and offer a healthy source of energy to the body without adding to the calorie content.
- High Calorie Foods - Fried foods like French fries, onion rings, donuts and any kind of packaged chips should be avoided at all costs. These foods have no nutritional value and simply cause you to gain weight even when on a vegetarian diet.
- Sugary Foods - Most vegetarians try to increase foods rich in sugar content in order to make up for the meat products which they no longer consume. Foods rich in sugar can increase your weight rapidly even when on a vegetarian diet. Say no to sweets and also avoid adding sugar to your coffee or tea.
- Oil - Another food to avoid is the use of extra oil in your food. This includes any kind of oil that you use to cook your food along with mayonnaise, heavy salad dressing, butter and margarine. Also avoid consuming too much cheese in your food. These products are high in fat content and can cause weight gain when on a vegetarian diet.
It is important to understand the reason as to why you are gaining weight on a vegetarian diet so that you can work on it. Moreover, it is also important to know the foods to avoid when on a vegetarian diet which can lead to weight gain in the future.
No matter whether you follow a vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet, it is imperative to drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water every day as it helps to clear out the toxins and keeps your body hydrated. Also, you must exercise 5 to 6 times a week as part of your weight loss plan in order to stay healthy and fit in the years to come.