This is why a vegan diet is making you fat

Just because it's 'vegan', it doesn't necessarily mean it's healthier.


Simon Hill,

March 7, 2019


Have you gone vegan expecting to improve your health and drop some pounds - only to find that youíre actually gaining weight? Despair not! While a large body of research has proven that on average vegans have a lower percentage of body fat compared to others, the truth is, if you are replacing the animal protein and fats with large amounts of refined carbohydrates, processed oils, vegan junk food and smoothies packed with nut butters, youíre unlikely to see any benefits on the scale.


Here are four reasons you may be gaining weight on a vegan diet, and helpful tips you can implement to make sure your vegan diet is optimal for your health and your weight.


#1: Youíre eating an abundance of vegan junk food


With the rise in popularity of a vegan diet, food manufacturers have worked hard to keep up: more than ever before, food products that contain no animal products are slowly but surely filling up shelves in supermarkets. While itís great to see the power consumers have in shifting food manufacturers to a more conscious food environment, the truth is that these products often have just as much added sugar, fat or refined carbohydrates, and calories as their conventional counterpart. A vegan brownie may seem like a healthier choice, but it could potentially have just as many calories, sugar and fat as the version with butter and eggs.


The solution


Itís important to understand that a vegan diet is not necessarily synonymous with a whole food plant-based diet, which instead focuses on unrefined grains, vegetables, fruits and plant proteins while shying away from added sugars, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates. Not only do these foods come packed with fibre, nutrients and vitamins, they also tend to be significantly less calorie dense compared to animal foods, although there are some exceptions. Make sure your diet is mostly made up of whole food plant-based options that are lower in calories and will keep you feeling full for longer, rather than mock meats and vegan treats.


#2: Your portion control has gone out the window Ö


Going vegan can trick us into believing that just because a food contains no animal products, it must have little or no calories. It is not uncommon for some of us to think that because plant-based foods are health-promoting, we can eat unlimited amounts of nuts, grains, seeds and sweet potatoes. In reality, some vegan foods (although incredibly healthy) such as nuts and seeds, nut butters, dates, coconut yogurt, avocado, and grains, can be highly calorie dense. Itís important to recognize that just because a food is vegan, it is not a free pass to overindulge.


The solution


If youíre eating many calorie dense foods throughout the day, itís important to recognize that while they may be healthy, this does not mean they are low-calorie foods. Therefore, if youíre struggling with losing weight, itís best to eat calorie-dense plant-based foods in moderation, and to always keep in mind the importance of balanced portion sizes.


#3: Youíre cooking with a lot of oil ...†††


#4: Youíre sipping calorie-dense smoothies (and not feeling full afterwards) ...†††


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