For most people, eating a vegan diet usually translates to a lean body. And scientific research seems to agree with that notion too. According to a study done by Oxford University on 40,000 adults, researchers have found that meat eaters tend to have the highest BMIs while vegans had the lowest.
However, there are some people who, after converting to a vegan diet, did not lose weight even after cutting out meat. In fact some have even gained weight. Below are the four common reasons why this happens and how you can avoid them.
4) Portions that are too big.
Healthy foods, whether vegetables, fruits or whole grains, contain nutrients that either fuel the body’s activities or maintain or heal the body’s tissues like skin, hair, muscles and immune cells. However, our bodies do not need an endless supply of these nutrients. The amount the body requires is generally based on sex, age, weight, height and physical activity. For example, an old, petite inactive lady requires lesser portions than a younger, taller, heavier and more active man.
The reason why you may not be losing weight is probably because your nutrient intake exceeds your body’s needs. If you are going to eat a large bowl of akai with fruits, seeds, nut butter and nut milk for breakfast and then sit at a desk all day, you are still going to gain weight as the bowl is packed with nutrients that is about three times more than what your body needs until lunch.
3) Not getting enough protein.
Consuming enough protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass, which helps in keeping your metabolism revved up. In order to meet your daily protein needs (which is about 60 grams for most vegans) even if you are on a plant-based diet, you need to include more peas, beans and lentils in your diet as these vegetables contain the best sources of plant protein. A cup of cooked lentils has about 17 grams of protein compared to 8 grams in a quarter cup of almonds or a cup of cooked quinoa. You can also boost your protein intake by blending a plant-based powder like pea protein into a smoothie which can give you as much as 25 grams per serving.
2) The timing is off.
Did you know that your meal timing can have a serious impact on your waistline whether you are a vegan or an omnivore? If you are going to eat your largest meal in the evening when you are least active, you are definitely going to gain weight or at least prevent losing weight even if you are a vegan. A better strategy is to consume your larger meals earlier in the day when you are most active then switching to lighter but filling meals in the evening.
1) Eating plant-based junk food.
Some people think that it is okay to binge on plant-based treats like sweet potato chips and coconut milk ice cream. What these people do not know is that plant-based desserts and snacks are not only high in calories as they are mostly made with added sugar and refined flour, they are also stripped of fiber and nutrients. While it is okay to eat them as occasional treats, eating these plant-based treats on a daily basis can be a recipe for weight gain. According to one study, processed foods can decrease post-meal calorie burning by as much as 50%. The next time you feel a craving for something sweet, reach for a fruit or some dark chocolate instead of those calorie-packed plant-based treats.