Weight loss with vegetarian or vegan diets

The vegetarian diet is enjoying increasing popularity. More and more people want to avoid animal products for various reasons. The type of vegetarian diet depends on the foods to be avoided.

Vegetarian dish with noodles and fresh vegetables

Forms of vegetarianism

Ovo-lacto vegetarians eat neither meat nor fish, but do eat eggs and dairy products. Lacto vegetarians abstain from meat, fish or eggs, and accept only dairy products as an animal food. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, but no meat, no fish and no dairy products. There are also different forms of compliance with these guidelines. The so-called "flexitarians" approach the whole thing rather loosely and eat fish or even a grilled sausage in a restaurant or when invited to a garden party. The "pudding vegetarians" do not eat meat for ethical reasons, but otherwise do not follow a health-conscious diet and lifestyle. This is often due to the fact that the necessary nutritional knowledge is lacking or the family environment (for example, with young women) does not offer the necessary support. Moderate vegetarians occasionally consume small amounts of fish and meat, but often attach little importance to a consistent, healthy, wholesome diet. "Pescatarians" reject meat and meat products, but eat fish and fish products, eggs, milk and dairy products. This form of vegetarianism is generally regarded as the healthiest form of nutrition and largely corresponds to official nutritional recommendations. "Weekend vegetarians" or "holiday vegetarians" occasionally or for a period do not eat meat or fish. Many of them are on their way to becoming vegetarians and are gradually moving towards a consistent vegetarian diet.

Motives for a vegetarian diet

More and more people are consciously opting for a vegetarian diet. Meanwhile, about 10 percent of the population eats vegetarian food -- and the trend is rising. Vegetarians are more frequently found among the higher educated.

Motives for a vegetarian diet include:

  • Ethics
  • Health
  • Aversion to the taste of meat
  • Concerns about world nutrition
  • Environmental compatibility
  • Religious and cultural attitudes

As transparency about factory farming and slaughter practices increases, many people can no longer accept the manner in which animals are tortured and killed for human consumption. Increasingly, issues such as world hunger and environmental pollution are being considered. To produce one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meat requires seven times more arable land and pasture than to produce one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of grain or vegetables. In view of the increasing world population, meat consumption must inevitably decrease in order to feed all people with the available resources.

Obesity among vegetarians and vegans

Anyone who believes that vegetarians and vegans eat so healthfully that they never become obese is wrong. Although vegetarians and vegans are generally more aware of their health and nutrition than those who eat otherwise, we also find overweight people in this group. Particularly when vegetarians turn to ready-made products and desserts, does their body weight increase. Somewhat disrespectfully one speaks then of the "Pudding Vegetarian." But what does a vegetarian or vegan do if she or he suffers from obesity? The usual recommendations to eat a large serving of meat and a bowl of salad are out of the question. Vegetarians and vegans don't just avoid animal products, they also consume other foods that are often unknown to the non-vegetarian. When trying to lose weight, protein intake is of particular importance. Because vegetarians consume animal protein only to a limited extent if at all, plant alternatives must be found. Here the quality and especially the biological value of the protein of the selected food plays an important role. The biological value of the protein can be increased through a clever combination of different protein sources.

Proven protein combination for vegetarians

Beans with corn

Beans with whole-grain cereals

Beans with sesame seeds

Peanuts with sunflower seeds

Peanuts with sesame seeds

Peanut with soy products

Legumes with corn

Legumes with whole-grain cereals

Soy products with whole-grain cereals

Whole-grain rice with sesame seeds

Whole-grain rice with legumes

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