Do You Lose Weight When You Go Vegan?
Last updated on December 3rd, 2023
Is one reason you’re thinking of going vegan to lose weight? Many of us dream of having a healthy body, a body that makes us feel good in our own skin, so that’s why so many are asking the question – Do you lose weight when you go vegan?
But before I answer, I want to recognise that we’re all different, we come in different shapes and sizes and it’s individuality that makes us beautiful.
Now, if you are seeking a healthier body and wondering if a vegan diet might be the answer you’re not alone. This question is becoming increasingly popular as the number of people following a vegan diet is soaring.
Does Going Vegan Help You Lose Weight?
After a week or two on your vegan diet can you suddenly fit back into those jeans that haven’t touched you since before Christmas?
The answer is simple. It’s up to you. But, yes, it is easier to lose weight on a vegan diet.
A study from Loma Linda University, California says:
“The 5-unit BMI difference between vegans and nonvegetarians indicates a substantial potential of vegetarianism to protect against obesity.”
But this study was carried out some time ago. And maybe 20 years ago it was almost guaranteed that you’d lose weight when starting a vegan diet. That’s because vegan options pretty much started and ended with healthy and natural foods.
Today’s Vegan World is Very Different.
You actually don’t need to change your diet much when transitioning from a meat-eating diet to a vegan diet.
Sounds a little crazy? Yes, but it’s true.
Almost everything can be veganised these days. So, whether you’re following a healthy nutrient-packed diet, a processed diet filled with junk food or something in between, it’s easy to follow the same eating habits when transitioning to a vegan diet.
The most important thing to think about when starting a vegan diet is trying to make healthy choices. This means not too much junk food and being aware of what your body needs.
Here are a couple of recent posts I’ve written that might help:
- The Best Vegan Iron Sources – That Could Even Turn Iron Man Vegan!
- What Vegan Foods Are High in Protein? And Why is Protein Important?
Will I Lose Weight Faster if I Go Vegan?
When I first became vegan, I did lose some weight quite fast, without any additional changes to my lifestyle. Nothing crazy, just a little but I felt good about it.
But will you lose weight when becoming vegan? And will it happen fast? Activity level aside, it depends if you’re going to be a healthy food vegan, a junk food vegan or something in between.
How Long does it Take to Lose weight after Going Vegan?
I’ve been vegan since 2018, and veganism hasn’t been a magic trick to give me my dream beach body. I started to lose some weight, not a lot, after about 3 weeks.
But to maintain my weight I know I need to be conscious about eating the right food and exercising regularly. And if I go too wild, even on my vegan diet, the evidence is clear.
Without a doubt, the reason I first lost some weight when becoming vegan was because I turned to real foods. I had the idea that vegans avoided so many things, so to be safe, I just stuck to foods that I knew were clearly vegan. Like fruit, veggies, beans, rice and nuts.
So, as a result, I didn’t just become vegan I also found myself on a pretty healthy diet.
But this did not last long…day by day I started to learn more about the wonderful, yet deadly vegan foods out there. I found a new place selling vegan burgers, a fully vegan cake shop, a vegan fried chicken takeaway and the list of things I’m finding is still growing years later.
We all know that there are a number of reasons people decide to go vegan. If health and weight loss are your reason then it’s a good one and your new vegan diet can definitely help.
And actually, the truth is most people who start being vegan for one reason, end up being vegan for a number of reasons.
I first made the decision for animal welfare but the more I learned about the impact of the meat and dairy industry on the environment. And the impact of meat and dairy on my body. It seemed all three reasons on their own were enough.
How to Lose Weight on a Vegan Diet?
So, if you’re beginning your journey to becoming vegan for your health and are hoping to lose some weight then it’s very possible.
It’s not a quick fix or a guarantee but for most, it’s easier to lose weight and maintain your weight on a vegan diet than if you eat meat and dairy.
The moment you begin a vegan diet you are removing a long list of fatty foods from your diet. According to WebMD 6 foods high in saturated fats are:
- Fatty Meats
- Poultry Skin
- Heavy Cream
- Soft Cheese
Of course, the list goes on, but following a vegan diet, you will not eat any of these. Whereas someone not following a vegan diet might eat these foods most days, if not every day.
The key to keeping the weight off is to not look for alternatives to these. Don’t go on a mission to taste every dairy-free cheese, just so that cheese toasties can still be in your life, or try to find a hamburger that’s just like your old favourite beef burger.
Of course, I’m not saying a treat sometimes is a bad thing. But if you’re starting a vegan diet to improve your health then the best idea is to limit processed foods and fill your belly with natural, vitamin-packed, body-fueling foods.
Here’s something that most newbie vegans struggle through when first becoming vegan….
Am I Going to Become Nutrient-Deficient and Fall Apart?
Most days I feel healthier than ever and I’ve been at it for a while. So, no you won’t fall apart, as long as you do it right.
But as a result of this feeling and worry, vegans often pay more attention to eating the right things and getting the right combination from different food groups. This means they eat healthier foods than before and have less time for fattening junk food.
Do you NEED to Lose Weight when Becoming Vegan?
So, maybe you’ve read all this and alarm bells are ringing because you’re in the opposite situation. You want to start your vegan lifestyle but you don’t want to lose weight.
This can add a little extra challenge because a lot of plant-based foods are lower in calories and fats, unless you want to live off junk food. But by doing research and planning your meals and snacks you can get a lot of high-calorie vegan foods into your diet. Here are some to get started with:
- Olive Oil
- Peanut butter
- Smoothies – between meals
- Dark chocolate
- Sweet potato
Yes, going vegan can help you lose weight. A vegan diet is just like any other regular diet, if you pay attention to what you’re eating and how active you are, yes, you can lose weight when you go vegan.
On the other hand, if you fill up on fatty foods or junk foods it’s inevitable that most of us will gain weight.
Bodies are not all meant to be the same, we’re all individuals. We should love who we are and the body we are in. However, sometimes that’s easier said than done.
So, if you’re not feeling good about yourself, maybe you want to lose weight or gain weight then speaking to a dietitian or your GP could really help you get on the right track.
Thinking of giving veganism a try? Take a look at these posts – Can You be a Part-Time Vegan? & 10 Essential Tips for New Vegans – To Make Becoming Vegan Much Easier!
Meet the Author
Meet Sinead O’Carroll: Vegan explorer, sustainability advocate and the founder of The Wondering Wandering Vegan. Embracing veganism since 2018 and vegetarianism since 2005, Sinead is armed with a Vegan Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle qualification, and is on a mission to share her passion for cruelty-free living.
With a taste for adventure and a heart for eco-conscious choices, she’s here to prove that vegans never miss out on flavour, fun or style. Join her in enjoying the delights of a vegan-friendly world! 🌱✈️🌍
Want to know more? Check out Sinead’s About page here.
Follow me on Instagram to see all the delicious vegan food I find, the vegan and cruelty-free products I use and what I get up to as a travelling vegan.