Is a whole foods plant-based diet good for weight-loss?
The answer is actually freakin easy:
Yes, you can!
A whole foods plant-based diet is not only a healthy diet but also absolutely perfect for losing weight sustainably. And even better: there is no need for starving or being hungry all the time. This diet is a natural way for weight-loss without any supplements, it’s cheap and it promotes longevity – everything at the same time.
How can you lose weight on a whole foods plant-based diet?
There are many reasons to switch to a whole foods plant-based diet; one of them is sustainable and healthy weight-loss.
On the one hand, we all want to look good and feel good in our bodies. For some of us, it might even be very advisable to lose a few kilos for health reasons.
On the other hand, nobody wants to starve themselves, count calories and certainly not risk their health just to look good.
We can give you the all-clear: with proper implementation of a whole foods plant-based diet, you can lose weight and at the same time, enjoy your meals without feeling hungry at the end of the day.
Our ultimate guidelines for weight-loss on a healthy whole foods plant-based diet will help you make the transition as easy as possible:
- transition slowly and form completely new eating habits
- eat whole foods
- eat the rainbow
- get your whole grains
- cut the oils
- don’t skip meals
- eat the majority of your calories in the first half of your day
- drink enough water/ tea (at least 2.5l a day, more if you’re exercising)
- snack fruits when you are hungry between the meals
1. Slow transitioning
For transitioning to a whole foods plant-based diet, you should take some time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Especially your gut has to adapt to the changes. Don’t give up directly when feeling a bit bloated in the beginning because your gut will adapt to it over time. The development of gas is a natural reaction when digesting fibers.
2. Eat whole foods
There is a big difference between a plant-based diet in general and a whole foods plant-based diet.
Whole foods plant-based means you don’t risk overshooting calories because your food merely has too much volume. Whereas blending your food is not recommended, neither for weight-loss nor the transition. Blending will increase calorie density enormously. This might be recommendable for people who want to hold weight, but not for weight-loss.
But doesn’t blending decrease bloating?
No! Blending will even increase bloating because it increases the exposure of fibers to your gut. As a result, more fiber digesting reactions will increase gas development.
Therefore keep it whole, fresh, raw or steamed.
Legumes, as well as grains, have to be cooked carefully. However, for vegetables, steaming is a great way to prepare food without severe losses in nutrients, whereas sautéed or boiled vegetables often lose great amounts of their vitamins.
3. Eat the rainbow
This is a fundamental healthy eating tip, not only for a plant-based diet. Eat the rainbow is a simple way of reminding yourself to get the largest variety possible on your plate.
It’s a convenient way to make sure you are getting all essential nutrients like vitamins, mineral nutrients as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals. Especially pay attention to eating enough green vegetables!
What about Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is NOT produced by animals. Livestock is only the middle man. Vitamin B12 is found in soil, but it decreases in nature nowadays because of contamination through agriculture (using antibiotics, pesticides, and other pharmaceuticals).
Therefore even livestock is sometimes fortified with Vitamin B12 and meat-eaters sort of “supplement” indirectly. Conversely, vegans are recommended to supplement Vitamin B12 directly.
Read more about Vitamin B12 in our whole foods plant-based diet beginners guide.
4. Get your whole grains
Complex carbs are NOT bad for weight-loss! So make sure you cut out the refined carbs and sugars. But DON’T cut out whole grains because they are important for your health. In fact, carbs should even be the primary source of energy for you (even for weight-loss).
List of foods rich in complex carbohydrates:
- brown rice
5. Cut out processed fats
A lot of diets promote the use of oil in cooking as a better alternative to butter, which it absolutely is! The problem here is that better doesn’t necessarily mean good. Even though oil is not as harmful as butter, it is still incredibly calorie-dense. So make sure, to reduce your intake of oil and fats (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) to the absolute minimum!
6. Don’t skip meals
Losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way takes time. Don’t take the bait by commercials to lose insane amounts of weight in only a few days or weeks. Make the new diet your lifestyle, stick to it, and be honest to yourself.
Skipping meals will only make you feel faint and in addition to that, it is more likely to drop back to old habits.
7. Eat the majority of your calories in the first half of the day
Your hormone system plays a crucial role in terms of weight-loss. Simplified, your body wants to burn energy during the day and rest during the night. Adjust your calorie intake to this natural regulation, and it will improve your results.
8. Drink enough water/ tea
Drinking enough water is essential to process food and to maintain body functions. Therefore 2 liters a day is a minimum, and you should add more if you’re high in body weight, tall or if you’re exercising.
9. Snack vegetables and fruits
Sometimes one just needs to curb one’s cravings, and it isn’t wrong to snack in general. As long as you stick to whole plant-based foods like veggies and fruits, snacking won’t stop you from winning your goals.
Before eating a light dinner, it helps to drink a big glass of water and to snack a piece of vegetable or fruit 20 minutes before. This will make you feel full even without lots of calories late in the day.
Why is a whole foods plant-based diet good for weight-loss?
Why do we promote the whole foods plant–based diet for weight–loss?
The fitness industry is full of supporters of different high-protein, low-carb diets, and low-fat diets. To be honest, we were supporters of those diets even after we have finished our Bachelor’s degrees in Sports and Health Science at university. Even though we had nutrition courses, we were convinced of those fitness and weight-loss diets.
We tell you this to illustrate how confusing it can be these days to find a really healthy diet among all the trends.
Why is that?
Because what we learned at university is now partly outdated and outdated. In addition, countless companies make a lot of money by trying to convince people to buy unnecessary food supplements, fortified foods and “superfoods” that promise rapid weight loss or muscle growth. Every time they have new trends, new headlines, and new crazy stories. It took us a huge step out of the industry to realize what’s really going on.
So why is a whole foods plant-based so good?
- rich in complex carbohydrates and protein
In general, plant-based diets are associated with some health benefits. Current science suggests that a (balanced) plant-based diet reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, some types of cancer, obesity, diabetes type 2, and dementia.
As already mentioned, the whole foods plant-based diet might not be the diet with the fastest weight loss but emphasizes life-changing eating habits for normal body weight, optimal performance, and vitality.
How expensive is a plant-based diet?
Some people believe plant–based diets are more expensive than the standard western diet. In general, we can negate this. Unless you don’t start buying unnecessary superfoods from highly merchandised brands, plant-based diets are relatively seen very cheap.
We recommended the whole food plant-based diet because it’s a natural but very effective diet to lose weight. Nevertheless, we recommend taking your time to make the plant-based your new lifestyle instead of seeing it as a quick and short weight-loss program.
5. Complex carbohydrates and protein
Eating a whole foods plant-based diet means eating lots of foods rich in fiber and rich in plant protein. Complex carbohydrates, as well as protein, make you feel more satisfied and filled after a meal for a longer period. As a result, overeating won’t appear anymore due to ravenous appetite.
The problem with high-protein / low-carb diets and weight-loss
Weight-loss can be really frustrating, as well as it is unhealthy in most cases. Feeling hungry, exhausted, or simply the undesirable “jojo-effect” are common results of most popular weight-loss programs. It feels like there are thousands of different weight-loss diets out there, which promise you to lose weight very fast. But this is exactly the problem: the fastest weight-loss can’t be achieved sustainably and/ or without health risks.
Some of them might even work, but only in the short-run and disregarding long-term health at all.
Weight-loss vs. water-loss
Once you stop eating carbs, you lose lots of weight because you lose lots of body water.
It merely is the same effect when bodybuilders are “shredding“.
They stop eating carbohydrates and stop drinking to dehydrate their bodies. This has significant effects on aesthetics and therefore is very pleasing in the mirror. Nevertheless, in real life, this is not working if you really want to lose weight sustainably.
The whole foods plant-based diet is a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight. With a little bit of effort and time, the whole foods plant-based diet will be an absolute game-changer when it comes to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
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