A vegetarian diet is very popular in most countries, regardless of religion, gender, nationality or status of citizens. It is a certain way of expressing the inner world, which still has ethical significance. Moreover, a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of various health problems such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is likewise a good way to lose excess weight. Find out what the benefits of a vegetarian diet are, whether it has risks, and how to lose weight on it in this article.
Fun to know: about 45% of people worldwide describe themselves as vegetarians.
Table of Contents
- What are the forms of vegetarian diet?
- What are the benefits of vegetarian diet?
- Lower body weight
- Healthier cholesterol levels due to vegetarian diet
- Lower risk of cardiovascular problems in vegetarians
- Vegetarian diet can improve mood
- Vegetarian diet may affect psoriasis symptoms
- Reduces risk of degenerative eye disease
- Lower risk of stroke and obesity
- Healthier kidneys with a vegetarian diet
- Risks of a vegetarian diet
- Is a vegetarian diet suitable for weight loss?
What are the different forms of vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet can offer a wide variety of healthy foods. Different types of vegetarians eat different things:
Flexitarians: the term flexitarian is relatively new. They are people who live a semi-vegetarian lifestyle, consuming mostly plant foods, dairy products and eggs, but occasionally eating meat and fish.
Pescetarian: Another relatively new term is pescetarian, which refers to people who eat seafood but no other meat.
Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian: This is probably the most common form of vegetarianism, and is usually what people mean when they refer to themselves as vegetarians. Ovo-lacto vegetarians do not eat meat, but do eat other animal products such as milk and eggs.
Vegan: A vegan diet is purely plant-based and does not include animal products such as milk and eggs. Some people do not even eat honey and gelatin. Vegans usually consume vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and wheat.
Things to know: people who want to eat a vegetarian diet should choose their diet carefully and eat a wide variety of foods to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. The intake of food additives enriched with nutrients should never be excluded.
What are the benefits of the vegetarian diet?
There are a number of reasons why people become vegetarians. The production of vegetarian food is more environmentally friendly and reduces the damage to nature . Many people also choose not to eat meat for ideological, ethical or religious reasons. Take a look at some of the health benefits of vegetarianism that may motivate you to change your diet.
Lower body weight
A study of 38,000 people found that non-meat eaters had a lower body mass index (BMI) than meat eaters. Researchers attribute these results to eating large amounts of plant-based foods, which help food digest more easily and quickly due to their high fiber content.
Healthier cholesterol levels through vegetarian diet
Scientists have shown that a special vegetarian diet can lower cholesterol levels as well as medication. Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol that causes blockages in the coronary arteries, dropped by nearly 30% in participants who followed the diet. The diet consisted of almonds, soy protein, high-fiber foods and plant sterols found in green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils.
Fun Facts: Research shows that vegetarians have a lower risk of developing various types of cancer than people who eat meat.
Lower risk of cardiovascular problems in vegetarians.
Studies have shown that the more meat you consume, the greater your risk for type 2 diabetes and other diseases that threaten the cardiovascular system. Why is a vegetarian diet helpful? Most vegetarian diets contain foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that reduce damage caused by oxidative stress, including atherosclerosis.
An appropriately planned vegetarian/vegan diet is healthy and can be beneficial in preventing and treating certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, childhood, adolescence, old age, and even for active athletes.
However, these benefits do not come directly from the decision to stop eating meat. It takes time and a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and eliminates unhealthy choices like smoking and large amounts of alcohol.
Vegetarian diet may improve mood
Researchers at Benedictine University conducted a study to see if there was a link between people’s mood and their diet. They found that participants’ moods improved after giving up animal products.
In addition, the Croatian Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Medicine studied the mental health of vegetarians and found that they had lower levels of neuroticism and neurotic episodes.
Vegetarian diet can affect psoriasis symptoms
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, irritated skin and can be very persistent. Research suggests that a vegetarian diet may improve these symptoms.
Fun Facts: Vegetarian foods contain no saturated (harmful) fats and are richer in fiber than animal foods.
Reduces risk of degenerative eye disease.
Research from the Department of Clinical Medicine at Oxford University clearly shows that meat eaters have a higher risk of developing degenerative eye diseases (cataracts, glaucoma), while vegetarians and vegans have the lowest risk.
Lower risk of stroke and obesity.
There are always exceptions, but in general, vegetarians and vegans tend to be much more discerning in their food choices. On the one hand, they place a high value on healthy foods that don’t contain a lot of saturated fat, calories, refined carbohydrates, and sugar. On the other hand, they are much less likely to eat by feel, a habit that contributes significantly to obesity. Research suggests that a vegetarian diet significantly reduces the risk of stroke and obesity.
Healthier kidneys from vegetarian diet
NYU Langone Medical Center reports that studies of people who eat a vegetarian/vegan diet have shown a balanced pH and a lower risk of forming kidney stones.
Risks of a vegetarian diet
People who do not diversify their diet with a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains may become deficient in certain nutrients. They are:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
Good sources of iron include sea vegetables such as nori, fortified grain products, legumes and dried fruits. Eating these foods along with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits or tomatoes, helps the body absorb the iron.
Important sources of calcium include tofu, fortified soy milk, green leafy vegetables and dried figs. Fortified soy milk and breakfast cereals can support vitamin D synthesis, but frequent sun exposure is also a must.
Protein sources include eggs, milk, soy milk, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. Zinc is found in grains, dried beans, nuts and soy products. Zinc is an essential nutrient that plays a role in cell metabolism and immune function.
Is a vegetarian diet suitable for weight loss?
If you have been relying on a diet of protein and vegetables as one of the most successful ways to lose weight, now is the time to change that.
Experts agree that a vegetarian diet is most effective in helping people lose weight and reduce intramuscular fat while improving metabolism and reducing high blood sugar levels.
A study of 74 people with type 2 diabetes showed that a vegetarian diet was almost 2 times more effective in reducing weight. Participants lost almost 7 kg, while those on a low-calorie protein diet lost 3.5 kg.
Participants on a vegetarian diet consumed mostly vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Of the animal products, they consumed only one low-fat yogurt daily.
“A vegetarian diet proved to be the most effective diet for weight loss. We also showed that a vegetarian diet was more effective in reducing intramuscular fat and improving metabolism. The findings are important for people trying to lose weight, including those affected by metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Hanna Kahleova of the American Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
She adds that adipose tissue in the participants’ thighs was studied to determine which diet worked and how. To do this, the researchers used MRI. They found that the two diets resulted in similar reductions in subcutaneous fat tissue, while subfascial and intramuscular fat decreased only under the influence of the vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian weekly plan with a maximum of 1400 calories per day.
When you think about it, there is no magic in weight loss diets, it’s that simple. If you take in fewer calories from food than you consume, you will lose weight. There is a clear energy balance at play here.
We provide you with a low calorie weekly plan that you can stick to if you have decided to follow a vegetarian diet for weight loss. During this time, you should also drink plenty of water, at least 1.5 liters per day. Consider your physical activity and diet as a gift to yourself.
Breakfast: a cup of low-fat yogurt with a spoonful of honey and a banana. You can also add cinnamon.
Lunch: Vegetable soup without potatoes (500 ml) and a slice of wholemeal bread.
Dinner: Baked eggplant or zucchini
Breakfast: Boiled egg, a slice of wholemeal bread and grapefruit
Lunch: Salad with seasonal vegetables (400 g) and two baked potatoes
Dinner: Beans in tomato sauce, you can add some chili for better digestion
Breakfast: 50 g porridge on water with a teaspoon of honey and a fresh fruit of your choice
Lunch: a slice (150 g) of vegetable pizza made with wholemeal or gluten-free dough and a salad with seasonal vegetables (300 g)
Dinner: Mushrooms steamed in vegetable oil (200 g) and salad (200 g), seasoned with a little olive oil and lemon
Breakfast: a cup of low-fat yogurt with a spoonful of honey, a spoonful of flaxseed and a banana
Lunch: Grilled tofu 100 g and salad with seasonal vegetables (300 g).
Dinner: Lentil soup (400 ml) and carrot salad (200 g)
Breakfast: 2 toasted slices of wholemeal bread with tomato and half an avocado
Lunch: 200 g rice with vegetables
Dinner: steamed vegetables and 50 g of nuts
Breakfast: cup of low-fat yogurt with a spoonful of honey, a spoonful of flax seeds and blueberries
Lunch: Vegetable soup (500 ml) with a slice of rye bread
Dinner: 100 g of whole-grain or gluten-free pasta with vegetable salad
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, a slice of wholemeal bread
Lunch: salad with seasonal vegetables (300 g) and mushrooms steamed in vegetable oil (200 g)
Dinner: two large spoonfuls of steamed brown rice, steamed cauliflower (200 g) and boiled beet salad (250 g)