Many people who decide to follow vegetarian or vegan diet, put on weight due to increased carb and fat intake. What’s the solution to maintain or lose weight in such case?
The calories we consume ever day come from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates and proteins provide four calories per gram, while fats have more than twice the caloric density at nine calories per gram.
When a person converts from a “normal” omnivorous diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet it’s not unusual to see their macronutrient intake shift to one characterized by lower protein intake and a higher carb and fat consumption, particularly when seeds and nuts are incorporated as a source of protein. The final impact is an increase in caloric intake and compromised insulin sensitivity from the increased carbohydrate consumption. Unfortunately, this change in macronutrient intake isn’t conducive to maintaining lean muscle, nor is it ideal for supporting fat-loss goals.
As a vegan you will need to be very diligent in monitoring your daily calorie intake and remain conservative with regard to your seed and nut intake because they have a high fat content. You’ll also have to choose the carbohydrate sources wisely and follow suitable macronutrient timing strategies to make sure you’re not spiking insulin when consuming calorific high-fat meals.
Whenever possible choose salads and vegetables (fibrous carbs) over starchy carbs (for example rice, sweet potatoes and potatoes) and limit fruit consumption to no more than 1-2 small servings per day because it’s relatively high in fructose, a natural sugar. Avoid fruit juices, jam and honey where possible, and use non-nutritive sweeteners instead of sugar to manage insulin and further moderate your carbohydrate intake.
Steam, bake, dry fry (in a non-stick pan) or microwave your food instead of frying in oil, and avoid margarine and sauces to further reduce your fat consumption and control your daily calorie intake.
In general, vegan diet isn’t ideal to support the development of a lean, toned body, however with careful planning, the reading and understanding of food labels and diligent dietary choices, it definitely can be done.