A Plant-based diet will help you lose and maintain healthy weight
Following a plant-based diet is an opportunity to lose excess fat and maintain optimal weight.
Whole-food, plant-based diets, typically low in fat and high in fiber, reduce body fat.
Individuals consuming plant-based diets tend to have lower BMI (body mass index) than meat-eaters. Those who adopt plant-based diets effectively lose weight and reduce body fat, even if they eat the same number of calories as meat-eaters.
Plant-based diets have long been recommended for weight loss, since vegetables tend to have more nutrients and fewer calories than animal products.
Plant-based diets can help you lose weight and keep it off because they are packed with fiber, which helps fill you up - without adding extra calories. Physicians and nutritionists recommend aiming for 40 grams of fiber a day, which is easy to do when you have more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
By skipping meat, cheese, and eggs and limiting oils, you are also removing a significant amount of fat from your diet. For comparison, 1 gram of fat from beef, fish, or chicken has 9 calories versus 1 gram of carbohydrates from beans, potatoes or bread has only 4 calories. This results in fewer than half of the calories found in each gram of fat, helping to keep the weight off.
A plant-based diet changes the body's microbiome, increasing the healthy bacteria in the digestive system. There are more of a specific type of gut bacteria called bacteroidetes, which digest fiber and produce compounds called short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are associated with metabolic health.
A particular species called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, which thrives on the fiber found in plant-based products, is linked to weight loss, especially a reduction in body fat. It can also improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for metabolic health and preventing diabetes.
Download a Healthy Weight Loss Fact Sheet by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Here is additional research validating the benefits of a plant-based diet for weight loss:
Vegan participants decreased their fat and saturated fat more than the pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous groups at both 2 and 6 month timeframes. (Source)
Plant-based diets have shown significant reductions in weight and body fat with relative preservation of muscle mass in numerous studies:
Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Weight Status: A Systematic Review
A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment
A Plant-Based High-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat Diet in Overweight Individuals in a 16-Week Randomized Clinical Trial: The Role of Carbohydrates
A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a plant-based nutrition program to reduce body weight and cardiovascular risk in the corporate setting: the GEICO study
A two-year randomized weight loss trial comparing a vegan diet to a more moderate low-fat diet
The BROAD study: A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes
A transition from an omnivore diet to a plant-based diet is associated with significant weight loss for the majority of people.
The weight reduction can be explained by an increased intake of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and plant proteins, including a reduced intake of energy, saturated fats and animal proteins. (Source)
The health benefits of eating plant-based include:
Vegetables have more nutrients and fiber, and fewer calories and fat than animal products
Plant-based diets improve metabolic health, muscle strength and energy levels
Plant-based diets reduce weight, body fat, and BMI while promoting optimal cellular health