- Becoming a vegetarian doesn’t guarantee weight loss
- Plant protein products may be the culprit as they contain a lot of fat and sodium and are high in calories
- Refined carbohydrates cause blood sugar spikes that can also sabotage weight loss
A common misconception surrounding a vegetarian diet is that it guarantees health and weight loss. Unfortunately, that could not be further from the truth as avoiding animal protein is not the key to dropping kilos. There are many hidden challenges within a plant-based diet, which are not obvious and may surprise you.
Trap 1: Choosing the wrong types of protein
Unintentional self-sabotage can occur when changing over to a plant-based diet. Many newbie vegetarians switch to eating processed plant protein as a replacement for animal protein. Unfortunately, often these plant protein products are high in the three enemies of weight loss: fat, sodium, and kilojoules. The worst offenders are processed soya products.
Trap 2: Choosing the wrong type of carbs
Vegetarians can also struggle to lose weight if they eat the wrong types of carbs. Consuming carbs that are not “whole-food-based”, such as white and brown bread rolls, pizzas, tramezzini, shwarmas, wraps, white rice and mashed potato, causes sugar spikes and consequent high insulin response, which is a major weight gain culprit.
Carbohydrates that work well for weight loss are high-fibre, wholegrain options that digest more slowly, control blood sugar levels and consequently enhance satiety.
Give preference to seeded and rye bread, sweet potatoes and baby potatoes, corn on the cob, brown rice, pearled barley, quinoa, spelt and bulgur wheat instead.
Trap 3: Not consuming an adequate amount of protein
Consuming enough plant-based protein has been proven to help individuals with weight loss and maintenance. However, getting enough plant protein can be difficult if you do not know where to find it.
Balancing protein and carbs in the correct ratio is important, and a well-constructed plant-based meal plan can be an incredibly beneficial weight loss tool when based on a calculated energy (kilojoule) intake that promotes fat loss. Proteins to include are almond milk, soya milk, soya beans, tofu, lentils, beans chickpeas, pea plant protein powder and nuts.
Identify the problem
To fix a weight problem, we first need to establish what went wrong. Understanding your personal relationship with food is the first step to achieving your weight loss solution.
Try keeping a food and mood journal and diarise your daily food intake, noting when, how much, how fast, where you eat and most importantly, why you eat.
Hunger is not the only reason why we eat, and sometimes certain situations, people, events, circumstances specific moods or feelings causes us to consume food, independent of hunger. Recording your food and feelings allows you to reflect on your eating habits and to see the…