Reach a Healthy Weight With a Plant-Based Diet
Whether you want to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or just eat better, a plant-based diet can help you achieve your goals.
A Physicians Committee study tested a plant-based diet in a group of 64 women. At the start of the study, all of the women were moderately or severely overweight. Participants followed two simple rules: They set aside all animal products and kept oils to a minimum. They lost 13 pounds, on average, in 14 weeks, without calorie counting or exercise. A year later, they’d maintained an 11-pound weight loss. After two years, they were still below their original weight.
Plant-based diets can help you lose weight and keep it off because they are packed with fiber, which helps fill you up, without adding extra calories. Aim for 40 grams of fiber a day, which is easy to do when you move vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans to the center of your plate.
By skipping meat, cheese, and eggs and limiting oils, you’re also removing a significant amount of fat from your diet. This helps keep the pounds off, because 1 gram of fat—from beef, fish, or oil—has 9 calories. Compare that to 1 gram of carbohydrate from potatoes, bread, or beans, which has only 4 calories—fewer than half of the calories found in 1 gram of fat.
Any diet that cuts calories can help you lose weight, but few give lasting results. This is because restricting your diet often leads to overeating later. A low-fat, plant-based diet is different: It's the only research-proven way to get abundant nutrients, improve your weight, and achieve overall health in the long term. Even better, plant-based diets encourage you to enjoy your food!
Noah Praamsma, MS, RDN, Nutrition Education Coordinator, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
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What is a healthy weight?
You can see how your weight fits with a healthy range by checking your body mass index (BMI). A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
To trim away unwanted weight, it pays to focus on healthful food.