1

votes

Wondering about Vegan...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 31, 2012 at 6:14 AM

The people on this site obviously educate themselves, so I would like to hear from you all...

How exactly does being Vegan help people lose weight if all they are shoving into their poor bodies is carbs???

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2012
at 07:16 PM

I learned. You have my gratitude for taking the time to share such a thorough, well-thought-out answer.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2012
at 07:15 PM

Sorry, but blanket statements like yours are almost guaranteed to be inaccurate even if only in the exceptions.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2012
at 07:13 PM

Great answer! Thanks.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on March 31, 2012
at 06:43 PM

And, for some people, that plant protein may not be well assimilated. I get a satiety from eating meat that I never got when I was eating lots of tofu, beans, and whole grains. After two years of strict lacto-vegetarianism in my early 20s, I started craving meat.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on March 31, 2012
at 05:07 PM

Vegans eat no animal products, including eggs. So Vegan breads have other things. but bear in mind weight loss may be nutrient deficiency.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 31, 2012
at 05:06 PM

Vegans don't eat bread?

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on March 31, 2012
at 04:52 PM

I've seen the same thing Alex good point.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on March 31, 2012
at 12:18 PM

And, if the diet is specifically raw vegan, there will likely be foods from which the body will derive fewer calories than if the same foods had been cooked. I know some vegans who are obese, but they eat nothing but junk food that happens to be vegan.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on March 31, 2012
at 11:54 AM

Because weight gain is not as simple as "it's the carbs". Fruit has lots of goodies, unlike bread.

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12 Answers

6
B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on March 31, 2012
at 06:57 PM

Hi there Christopher;

Newfound vegans lose weight because the transition to vegan will create a calorie deficit. Though context matters a lot with calories, thermodynamics is still the primary mechanism off weight loss and gain. In going vegan, you restrict the types of food you eat, and also the energy density of the foods you eat. Also, the vegan diet is very high in fiber, which mitigates insulin response.

However, even though they lose weight due to calorie deficit, the high quantities of sugar (especially if they start consuming a lot of juice, which many vegans do) still have a negative effect on body composition, as well as negatively impacting systemic health (high levels of sugar in the diet encourage malignancy, negatively impact the immune system and tax the endocrinal system). Many vegans are what can be termed as 'skinny fat', or suffering from 'sarcopenic obesity' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcopenic_obesity). A diet high in sugar promotes adipose fat in the midsection (hence the often seen flabbiness/bulges above the trousers); if the diet is also lower in protein, this promotes loss of lean muscle mass.

Hence, even though restricted calories do allow for nominal weight loss, it can worsen body composition, so that even though the person appears thin, they are not healthily lean.

Now it's true that you can technically be vegan and eat insane amounts of calories from vegetable oils, processed 'vegan' junk food and high-carb as well as high-energy grain-based foods. However, the people that lose weight usually go on a vegan diet with that purpose, or with the purpose of becoming healthier, and usually attempt to focus more on whole foods. If the person has been eating the typical SAD, or living off junk food, eating industrial meats, hyperprocessed dairy and improperly prepared grains as well as industrial isolated sugars such as HFCS, and moves to a plant-based, predominantly whole foods diet, the person will lose weight, and even see improvement to their short-term health (markers such as complexion, energy, etc). But 'better than' doesn't mean 'best' or even less 'optimal'.

Now a lot of vegans - especially raw vegans - are very thin (some vegan gurus I've seen are skin and bones, what I'd call emaciated) because vegans usually have nutrient deficiencies since they cut out any animal products, which are the most nutrient dense. Also, eating exclusively raw food, as well as large quantities of fiber, as well as having insufficient levels of fat (which is needed for the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins) can inhibit nutrient absorbtion, which leads to emaciation.

I am not saying that it is impossible to get most nutrients on a vegan diet; but it's very difficult and requires a lot of effort and planning to make sure you're eating the right proportions of foods with certain nutrients and supplementing those you cannot get (if you have a look at this: http://nourishedkitchen.com/best-sources-vitamins-minerals/, you'll see most nutrients do have plant sources, excluding B12, which vegans can get via supplementation and fortified products). There are some healthy-looking vegans out there, even bodybuilders, but they most probably strictly tract their nutrient intakes, which is something the average person who decides to go 'vegan' doesn't have the time or resources to do.

Lots of Paleo Love,

Milla

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2012
at 07:16 PM

I learned. You have my gratitude for taking the time to share such a thorough, well-thought-out answer.

4
2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on March 31, 2012
at 11:28 AM

It's all about calories. Put yourself into a deficit and you will lose weight.

Losing weight does not necessarily make you healthier. I weighed a bit less at the end of my vegetarian 'phase', but mostly due to loss in muscle.

What we aim for in paleo is a more complete, clean, natural diet that is aligned with what our bodies have adapted to consume, and what we have available for us today.

Carbs are definitely an issue for many but not really the point of paleo.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on March 31, 2012
at 12:18 PM

And, if the diet is specifically raw vegan, there will likely be foods from which the body will derive fewer calories than if the same foods had been cooked. I know some vegans who are obese, but they eat nothing but junk food that happens to be vegan.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on March 31, 2012
at 04:52 PM

I've seen the same thing Alex good point.

4
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on March 31, 2012
at 06:25 AM

Well, first, they don't just eat carbs. They consume beans, seeds, nuts, legumes, etc. so they can still get proteins and fats. If they're coming off of a SAD diet, they'll likely lose weight because they're consuming more produce and fewer calorie-dense foods like cake (although vegan calorie bombs exist).

If the goal is to lose weight on a vegan diet, they'll likely be trying to eat more "whole" and less processed foods. It can be done. Losing weight can happen on ANY diet (fruitarian, Atkins, Weight Watchers, cookie "BS crappy" diet) if there is a calorie deficit. You can gain weight from Paleo or Atkins, too.

However, health consequences/benefits are not the same across all options.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2012
at 07:13 PM

Great answer! Thanks.

3
D4d83e7981ca572aaaa19fc620bb54f1

(467)

on March 31, 2012
at 08:44 PM

Who said all vegans are thin?? :D

I gained a lot of weight when I was vegetarian and later vegan. I became obese, actually.

I only lost weight when I was a gluten-free (and some other allergens-free) vegan. But I was still overweight, and had a bloated belly all the time.

1
264b5c21793329052ac3d84da8c41abd

on April 01, 2012
at 05:34 AM

Going vegan didn't help me lose weight at all - I actually gained about 50 pounds over the course of 3 years on a vegan diet, and I was obese to begin with.

1
E2ccd768a8e7957eee74e6964d779848

on March 31, 2012
at 08:19 PM

One of my friends decided to go Vegan for a while. He is a very fit, active person. He does stand-up and team paddle boarding, works out all the time, and I've seen him paddle miles and miles just for practice. Once he went vegan he said he immediately noticed how low in energy he was. He started losing definition and getting a layer of fat over everything, having trouble paddling much more then a short distance, and he said he started losing his 6 pack. He finally decided to stop when he ended up burning out in a race, where he decided half way through to stop being Vegan. Needless to say when he finished the race he ate a lot of meat...... a lot..... But nevertheless he is back to his normal self now.

The biggest problem he had was all the bread, which usually to be vegan was white bread, and he would eat a loaf (because of how hard he would work). I'm really surprised he didn't go down even faster performance wise, but his body just couldn't do it anymore. He said after about a week of converting back into his regular diet he could finally do what he was able to do before. Very sad at how fast he did lose all that ability, strength, and endurance.

He supplemented his normal whey protein or milk with hemp protein, which apparently broke the bank for him and he said it was just so expensive also that he couldn't afford to buy it or use it often, and I'm sure the lack of protein is one of the other big problems with the diet.

TL;DR it's rough on your body, and my active friend was a perfect example when he couldn't do even half what he use to do.

1
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 31, 2012
at 03:28 PM

agreeing. Eating a ton of pasta with oil and nuts will not make you skinny. For me, the best part of the paleo diet is the reminder to fill up our bodies with healthy, unprocessed foods with lots of variety in veggies. If I didn't think eating meat were important, I could see eating a very similar diet as a vegan (tons of veggies, some fruit, some nuts, some oil) and just skipping the meat. I know for my body, high protein helps, but that may not be everyone's truth.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 31, 2012
at 06:33 AM

Vegan isn't ideal but you can do better than SAD on it. I don't see the carb load as an issue per se, though it might be for some people.

0
C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 31, 2012
at 06:18 PM

The food is also high in fibre and usually low in calories.

Sometimes malnourishment can trigger eating disorders which may add deliberate restriction into the mix, if the person is already prone.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 31, 2012
at 04:45 PM

Most vegans also eat very low protein, which keeps them from building muscle that can pack on the weight. In addition, many vegans attempt to eat more natural foods and less junk food overall.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on March 31, 2012
at 06:43 PM

And, for some people, that plant protein may not be well assimilated. I get a satiety from eating meat that I never got when I was eating lots of tofu, beans, and whole grains. After two years of strict lacto-vegetarianism in my early 20s, I started craving meat.

0
Ed396719d9726e8e576773b2cb9cdf64

on March 31, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Allow me to recommand this video (entitled How to Win an Argument with a Vegitarian) - in short I agree with what has already been said, that generally vegans have a better and more healthy diet than the mainstreamers.

-1
Medium avatar

(2301)

on March 31, 2012
at 06:11 PM

Because they are sad and malnourished.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 31, 2012
at 07:15 PM

Sorry, but blanket statements like yours are almost guaranteed to be inaccurate even if only in the exceptions.

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