The vegetarian diet is a diet without meat, but there are several gradations. Some vegetarians do without red meat and poultry, but still eat fish, while others only eat eggs and dairy as animal products. And then there are vegetarians who completely do not even eat eggs and limit themselves to yoghurt and cream. Another type of vegetarian is a vegan, who completely forgoes on animal foods. If you are a vegetarian and want to lose weight, you might be surprised that this works in the same way as if you were a meat eater. Neverheless there is one pitfall, you have to be more careful with the nutrients you need.
Overweight as a vegetarian
It is a myth that vegetarians do not get fat because they “only” eat plant food and may a bit of milk. As vegetarians there are many calorie rich ingredients, because in these meals the meat is often replaced by nutrient-rich dairy products: like cream and cheese sauces which are real calorie bombs. And those who eat breaded and fried Camembert, as vegetarian alternative to a pork chop, digests a lot of fats. If vegetarians want to lose weight, you have to – like everyone else – identify the fattening ingredients in your meals and replace them with lower calorie ingredients.
Pay attention to iron
If you are losing weight you should pay particular attention to iron! The biggest risk is lack of iron for vegetarians. This essential element is accumulated in the body and is primarily gotten by eating meat. Although many plants also contain the mineral, they are far from the required amount. Iron is needed for healthy blood and can especially occur with vegetarian women. Permanent iron deficiency leads to anemia and other health risks. Even riskier is the nutrition for vegans, besides the risk of lack of iron in the daily meals is also the risk of B12 deficiency.
The vegetarian diet
A vegetarian diet is still possible, even with these pitfalls. They are available in different versions, one which all other diets have in common: the calorie content of meals is reduced and the intake of fat is limited. If you want to lose weight as a vegetarian, you can also customize a “non-vegetarian” diet to your own: replace the meat ingredients in the recipes with soy products. Although this should not be industrially processed as vegetarian soy sausage, or other meat substitutes because sugar and fat are added as a flavor enhancer – and that increases the calories in the meal. You could go for soy granules, which are available in different forms in health food stores. You want to make sure that your soy dish is GM free, buy biodynamic products.
Furthermore you should continue to take iron-rich vegetables. Make sure that you do not simultaneously digest dairy products, as these interfere with the iron absorption. Iron is present, for example, in green spelled, oats, raspberries, carrots, potatoes or whole grain bread.