Wieght loss for Vegetarians
Traditionally we have been told that a weight loss diet should be low in fat and carbs, while containing high amounts of protein. In fact few diets like the Dukan diet recommend that to lose weight you should only eat protein. The theory behind being that protein takes longer to digest and hence satiates longer. Secondly digestion of protein requires energy which is a way of weight loss.
Well, eating adequate amounts of protein is important for any balanced diet, but your diet should also contain appropriate amounts of carbs, vitamins and fats.
Did I say Fats? Yes I did, fats are one of the most misunderstood food items ever.All fats are
not bad for our health. Our body requires many different fatty acids for growth and repair.
Many of these fatty acids called poly unsaturated fatty acids are important for health and are found in plenty in oils like olive oil. Other than this you should strictly avoid any form of animal fat. If you are trying to lose weight, then plant sources of fats are a better source that the fattening animal fats.
A healthy diet should provide the right amounts of carbohydrates to fuel our body. Carbs are the commonest source of energy for our body and they are found in plenty in many vegetarian foods. You must take care to ensure that you eat complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread or pasta. You should also consume enough of tubers and fiber. You should avoid refined food like regular bread,, biscuits etc. You should also avoid food like candy and chocolate.
We will now discuss protein, the most touted and most used component of a weight loss diet. There is no doubt that protein is important for our body, but how much is enough? Textbooks mention an amount of 1-1.5 gms per kg per day. This would translate into 90-100 gms of protein for a man weighing 60 kgs. Any amount more than this will simply be converted into fat and stored.
Now there is a very common myth that vegetarian diets are very poor in protein. This is not true. Vegetarian diet can be quite rich in protein and the protein found in vegetarian diets is often high quality. It is also easily digestible. Protein in a vegetarian diet comes from pulses and milk products.
Milk products have another major advantage, they are rich in calcium, and calcium is a miracle element which plays a major role in increasing the metabolism of our body, It is also vital for the strength of our bones and the function of our nervous system.
Another very good source of protein for a vegetarian is soya beans. These have become very popular of late and you can see various forms of soy like nuggets, milk, tofu etc, etc. Although soy is a rich source of protein and is ideal for the protein requirements of vegetarians, too much of soya can also cause problems like thyroid disorders and slow weight loss. So it is advisable to consume soya in moderation.
A healthy diet should also contain adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are important for body metabolism and repair. Vegetarian diets are a good source of most vitamins except Vit B12. But Vit B12 is found in milk and is enough to take care of our needs. Fruits and vegetables are rich in minerals like potassium, zinc and selenium which have a protective effect on our body. So it is not necessary that being on a vegetarian diet should deprive your body of vital nutrients. A vegetarian diet can provide all the ingredients for a perfect weight loss diet.