Categories: weight loss

Why try “Plants” for weight loss?

plant based diet for weight loss

Here’s why! The Whole Food Plant based vegan diet may be one of the healthiest diets, as well as being great for weight loss.

“Several randomized controlled studies, which control for these external factors, report that vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than the diets they are compared to (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).” (Authority Nutrition)

Vegan diets may have many other health benefits, including benefits for:

  • Cancer risk: Vegans may benefit from a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer (20).
  • Arthritis: Vegan diets seem particularly effective at reducing symptoms of arthritis such as pain, joint swelling and morning stiffness (23, 24, 25).
  • Kidney function: Diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk of poor kidney function (26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31).
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Observational studies show that aspects of the vegan diet may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (32, 33).

As a nutritionist I get a lot of questions about how to get enough protein, or adequate nutrition as a vegan.  Some people are genuinely concerned about whether it’s even possible.  In answer to their questions I encourage them to get their nutrition status checked and to eat well.  For most people it is possible to get everything you need from a balanced diet, and the caveat is, we are all unique in our biochemistry and our genetics, so it is important that you eat the right and best diet for you – personally.

All that been said, what does a healthy whole food plant based vegan diet consist of?

In my opinion, health-conscious vegans should eat a variety of foods rich in a a variety of essential nutrients (e.g. amino acids, fatty acids, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, fibre, and mono-saccharides, vitamins and minerals).  I like this list from an article on Authority Nutrition, which I have slightly modified.

  • Tofu, tempeh and seitan: These provide a versatile protein-rich alternative to meat, fish, poultry and eggs in many recipes.
  • Legumes: Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermenting and proper cooking can increase nutrient absorption (34).
  • Nuts and nut butters: Especially unblanched and unroasted varieties, which are good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E (35).  It is a good idea to “activate” nuts and grind seeds before eating.
  • Seeds: Especially hemp, chia and flaxseeds, which contain a good amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids (36, 37, 38).
  • Seaweed: Spirulina and chlorella are good sources of complete protein and plant based iron. Other varieties are great sources of iodine.
  • Nutritional yeast: This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegan dishes and add an interesting cheesy flavor. Pick vitamin B12-fortified varieties whenever possible.
  • Whole grains, and cereals: These are a great source of complex carbs, fiber, iron, B-vitamins and several minerals. Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are especially high-protein options (39, 40, 41, 42).
  • Sprouted and fermented plant foods: Ezekiel bread, tempeh, miso, natto, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha often contain probiotics and vitamin K2. Sprouting and fermenting can also help improve mineral absorption (34, 43).
  • Fruits and vegetables: Both are great foods to increase your nutrient intake. Leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach, kale, watercress and mustard greens.
    Funghi: mushrooms
    (Source: Authority Nutrition – slightly modified)


Nutrition Authority:

The Vegan Diet – A Complete Guide for Beginners, by Alina Petre, retrieved from web 1 November, 2016

Photo by Elane’ Swire


Spread the Word to get this healthy message out! Like or share this page with your friends on your fave social media platform!

Posted on Nov 2, 2016 - Last updated on Nov 2, 2016

About the Author

Lisa Cutforth is the founder of Size Fantastic. A nutritionist and foodie with a degree in Nutrition with Psychology and a passion for health, Lisa’s ambition is to take health off the “too hard” shelf and restore her clients confidence in themselves and their ability to heal and be well… Size Fantastic to us means: looking and feeling great, inside and out!