We have all heard of many people turning to the vegan or vegetarian diets in an attempt to lose weight. Many do not know what these diets are and what the health implications of following them may be. Hopefully this article will assist you in gaining knowledge on these lifestyle changes and how they are linked to weight loss.
Following the vegan diet can be defined as not eating or using animal products while being vegetarian is not eating meat and fish for many different reasons (ethical, religious… etc.).
The diets mentioned above are becoming more and more popular and there are many health benefits to this. Vegetarian diets are typically high in fibre, folic acid, vitamins C and E as well as potassium and magnesium. These advantages make for a healthy immune and digestive system and good overall health. The fat content is also more unsaturated due to the absence of meat.
Vegan diets (compared to the typical vegetarian diet explained above), are stricter but are also higher in fibre and lower in the “bad” fats (saturated fats from animal products like cheese). Vegans tend to be thinner and have lowered levels of LDL cholesterol (the stuff that blocks arteries and leads to cardiovascular disease), this also leads to lower blood pressure. Following this diet, however, does have its disadvantages. Although this diet is lower in calories and higher in antioxidants (anti-cancer agents), deficiencies of vitamin D, calcium, iron and other minerals may occur.
If you do decide to pursue this change in lifestyle, and follow it correctly, then it can protect one against many chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
To avoid any of the deficiencies mentioned, purchasing vitamin D fortified foods and sun exposure may help. Many products are available in grocery stores that are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
Some other tips regarding this diet is to keep a watchful eye on portion sizes as this is essential for weight loss. Stick to whole grains instead of refined grains and reduce your sugar intake as much as possible. It is important to remember to include lots of fibre in your diet and to drink loads of water to keep your body’s systems working properly.
Diet alone will mostly not give the results you want (weight-loss wise). Pairing a good eating plan with exercise is essential. A treadmill workout is excellent aerobic exercise. Increasing the frequency and intensity of your workouts will also greatly assist in losing weight.