Are you wondering if vegans lose weight faster and easier?
The answer to that question is: It depends.
Some studies have found that vegans and vegetarians might lose weight faster and easier than omnivores. However, this must be taken with a grain of salt.
Just going vegan will not magically make you lose weight, especially if you indulge in high calorie vegan junk food – which you can easily do.
If you want to go vegan and lose weight, you will have to make some dietary adjustments.
The good news is that after reading this short article, you’ll know exactly what it takes to lose weight as a vegan.
Let’s dive in.
What Does it Take for Vegans (And Anyone Else) to Lose Weight?
The main driver of body weight changes is the number of calories you consume.
A calorie is a unit used to measure energy. You consume calories via foods and drinks, and those calories are either used in bodily processes or stored in the body as fat, muscle, or glycogen.
The relationship between the number of calories consumed vs. the number of calories used is called calorie balance.
In order to lose weight, you MUST put yourself in a negative calorie balance — meaning you must consume fewer calories than the ones you burn with your daily activities. When you do this, your body will use fat as energy, and weight loss will happen.
So as you can see, if calories are equated, vegans and non vegans, can lose weight at the same rate.
Our hypothesis is that vegans and vegetarians are more health-conscious and therefore make healthier decisions when it comes to what they eat, which can lead to weight loss.
So the first step in a weight loss journey, is to determine how many calories you should consume to lose weight.
You can use our FREE vegan weight loss calculator to know exactly how many you should consume to put yourself in a negative calorie balance.
How to Start a Vegan Diet for Weight Loss
If you want to get healthier and lose weight by going vegan, you can totally do so.
Now that you know that calorie balance is the main driver of weight loss, let’s talk about the vegan foods that will make weight loss easier.
Best Vegan Foods to Make Weight Loss Easier
Note: this list is a suggestion, as long as your calories are under control you can eat other foods not listed here.
The best foods for weight loss are the ones that make you feel full without consuming too many calories — remember that to lose weight we have to reduce the number of calories consumed.
The last thing you want to be while losing weight is hungry. Having high hunger levels is one of the main causes why people mess up their diets.
You avoid hunger by consuming foods that are high in volume and low in calories.
Here’s what I mean:
Here’s a list that will help you choose:
High Lean Protein Foods:
- Low-Calorie Soy Meats
- Nutritional yeast
- Pea protein powder
- Edamame pasta
- Soy curls
- Soy protein powder
- Plant-based protein powder
- Soy milk
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- Brussel sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Turnip greens
- Olive oil
- Almond butter
- Peanut Butter
- Whole grain bread
- Whole grain rice
- Whole grain pasta
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat rice cakes
Legumes and beans:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
Foods You Should Avoid for Vegan Weight Loss
Now, you don’t really need to avoid ANY food if you stick to your calories.
But it is a good idea to avoid foods that are low in volume and high in calories.
Here’s a visual that explains it:
If you only eat things that are low in volume and high in calories, then you will likely struggle with your diet.
Here are some foods that I recommend you avoid when trying to lose weight:
High-Calorie Vegan Desserts:
- Ice cream
- Vegan cookies
- Granola bars
- Veggie chips
- Potato Chips
High-Calorie Processed Foods:
- Vegan cheese
- Vegan pizza
- High-calorie vegan burgers
This does not mean you can never have these foods again, but remember, when you’re on a fat loss journey, calories will be the driver of weight loss, and they must be reduced, which will make it tough to have high calories foods.
Once you’re done with fat loss, or when you take a diet-break, then you can eat some of these foods again, in moderation.
Creating Your Vegan Plate To Lose Weight
Counting calories might seem a daunting task, especially if you’re new to dieting, so now you’ll discover how to set up an easy meal plan that will make you lose fat without having to count every calorie that you consume.
That said, you should know that you’ll always get better results by counting them yourself.
On this simple meal plan, we’ll focus on eating mostly whole foods.
Whole foods have the advantage of coming with A LOT of volume and lower calorie content.
That means that you’ll be able to consume large amounts of whole foods, without consuming too many calories.
And that’s key, because when you want to lose weight and fat, the goal is to reduce your calorie consumption, and when you do that without increasing hunger levels, fat loss becomes easy.
Here are some simple rules to follow:
RULE #1: Eat three main meals a day only
Each meal must fit on one plate, and you will divide the plate in the following way:
- 50% of the plate is veggies
- 25% of the plate is protein
- 25% of the plate is carbs & fats
Here’s a visual to give you an idea:
RULE #2: Drink two protein shakes throughout the day
- Each shake should have between 20-40 grams of protein.
You might be thinking: Why so much protein?
We’ve found, that most people under consume protein.
Protein is key during fat loss because:
- Improves recovery.
- Can increase muscle mass (when paired with resistance training).
- Helps retain muscle mass during diets.
- Helps you get stronger.
- Has a higher TEF than carbs and fats (helps you burn more calories)
- Makes you feel fuller for longer periods of times, which helps with diet adherence.
As you can see, protein is awesome. And your goal is to consume between 0.7 grams – 1.1 grams per pound of bodyweight, use our calculator to get a precise recommendation.
Here’s a list of 24 of our favorite vegan protein sources.
RULE #3: You can consume all ZERO-CALORIE drinks in unlimited amounts
That means water, diet soda, zero-calorie energy drinks, black coffee.
And if you’re going out and you wanna have a few more drinks, just remember this:
- 1 drink replaces 1 snack
- 2 drinks replace both snacks
- 3+ drinks… stop it
Extra Tips to Lose Weight As a Vegan:
- Slow Down Your Eating Speed
Your stomach takes a while to realize it’s being fed, so if you eat everything on your plate in two minutes flat, you might still feel hungry. If you take your time eating, you’ll actually feel full by the end of the meal.
- Drink Water Throughout the Day
Drinking water keeps you from getting food cravings between meals, and will keep you well hydrated too!
- Stop Eating When You Feel Full
Feeling full halfway through a meal? Stop eating! This is your body’s way of telling you that it’s had enough for the time being.
- Be Careful with Dressings, Sauces and Sides
Garlic dip, ketchup, salad dressing, and bread dippers might seem harmless, but they could easily make your healthy meal turn unhealthy. Cut down on these extras as much as possible!
This strategy will get you results, but remember that at the end of the day, our bodies function like an accounting system.
Don’t Neglect Resistance Training To Lose Weight As a Vegan
I’m guessing your goal is not only weight loss.
You probably also want to improve your body composition – that means adding muscle mass and decreasing body fat – resistance training will help you do that.
Practicing resistance training is VERY important to be healthy. In fact, this study found that having more muscle and less fat can protect against mortality.
We recommend that you train 3-5 times per week, here are some resources that will help you get started:
- 4-Week Glute Workout Plan (How To Get a Bigger Butt)
- 8-Tricep Exercises For Bigger And Stronger Arms
Walk To Lose Weight As A Vegan
Before we get into the calorie burning effects of walking, let’s get clear on something: Most people — especially those with a desk job — are sedentary.
Walking is an essential part of being a human being. It allows you to stay mobile for your whole life, and it ensures that as you age, you are able to… walk.
Walking is key during fat loss phases because it helps burn more calories without adding a bunch of fatigue to your body. By walking 10,000 steps per day, you burn around 500 calories. Over a week, that’s 3500 calories.
Walking helps you create a bigger calorie deficit WITHOUT adding fatigue, and that’s incredibly beneficial for your gym performance.
Check out this pic:
This was right after finishing a fat loss phase, and ALL I did to get this lean was walk 10k-15k steps/day, put myself in a calorie deficit, and lift weights.
I didn’t do a minute of “formal” cardio on the stair master. I never got on a treadmill. I just walked.
Calories in vs. calories out. And the most effective way to alter your body composition and your body weight is by accurately tracking everything that comes into your body, and by tracking your daily outputs.
The Bottom Line: Vegans Can Lose Weight If They Properly Structure Their Nutrition Plan
As you can see you will not lose weight just by going vegan.
If you want to lose weight and improve your body composition, then you also need to properly structure your diet.
Follow the principles explained in this article as a way to kickstart your weight loss and fat loss journey.
Now it’s your turn to start putting in the work.
And if you want expert help, you can check out our 1:1 coaching program here.