All About Following A Vegan Diet For Fitness

Oat Milk
Oat Milk
Plant-Based Food
Plant-Based Food

Vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity mainly due to the many health benefits associated with them. Often, these eating habits are the best ways to lose weight, and because of this, they are the considered ideal diets for fitness. By following a plant-based diet, you focus on eating more plant-based food and less animal-based foods. This article aims to clarify various doubts regarding following a vegan diet for fitness; read on to know more about them.

Are There Different Types Of Plant-Based Diets?

Depending on the quantity and type of animal-based food that you consume along with plant-based food, there are different types of plant-based diets. In a vegan diet, you avoid consuming all types of animal-based food products and byproducts. So, you do not consume honey, red food coloring made using cochineal insect, etc.

Listed below are the other types of plant-based diets:

  • Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians: People who follow this type of plant-based diet consume eggs and dairy.
  • Lacto Vegetarians: They consume dairy along with plant-based food, which forms the bulk of their diet.
  • Ovo Vegetarians: They consume eggs along with plant-based food.
  • Pescatarian: They include fish and shellfish in their plant-based diet.
  • Flexitarian: People who follow this type of diet eat vegetarian food most of the time, but occasionally they eat meat.

Remember that one of the main disadvantages of following a vegan diet is that there is an increased risk of developing nutrient deficiency diseases. These nutrients are the following:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Zinc
  • Iron

These nutrients are either absent or not easily absorbed by the body from plant-based food. Often, the latter case is due to the presence of antinutrients in food.

What Types Of Plant-Based Foods Are Consumed In A Vegan Diet?

Shared below are the types of foods consumed in a vegan diet:

  • Fruits: They are high in fructose (sugars) and are nutrient-dense. Also, fruits like avocado are good sources of healthy fats.
  • Vegetables: They have lower calorie content and higher amounts of dietary fiber. So, eating more vegetables helps to maintain weight and promotes weight loss.
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains are the primary source of carbohydrates in a plant-based meal. Apart from this, they are good sources of dietary fiber that helps to maintain gut health.
  • Legumes: Legumes are the primary source of protein in plant-based diets. Some of the popular foods that belong to this category are lentils, beans, and soy.
  • Nuts And Seeds: Nuts and seeds are calorie-dense plant-based foods because they are rich in healthy fats. Because of this, you must limit their consumption for maintaining a healthy weight.

Is A Plant-Based Diet Good For Weight Loss?

Typically, plant-based diets, especially a vegan diet helps with weight loss due to the low-calorie density. But this is not always the case because the calories contained in food also depend on the method of preparation.

Eating too many nuts and seeds promote weight gain because they are rich in healthy fats. Also, frequently eating plant-based meat products like burgers has the same effect. This is because the ingredients used for making them like potato protein and coconut oil are calorie-dense. So, to ensure weight loss on a plant-based diet, you must plan it properly.

Will I Get Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet?

Most plant proteins are incomplete proteins, i.e., they do not have some of the 9 essential amino acids. This can be overcome by eating a wide variety or combination of plant-based foods. For instance, beans have low amounts of amino acid methionine and high amounts of lysine; rice is high in methionine and low in lysine. So, consuming them together in a plant-based meal will ensure that you get all the essential amino acids. Also, plant-based food like buckwheat, amaranth, soy, and quinoa are complete protein sources. Finally, eating a diverse range of plant-based foods will give you a diversified nutritional profile.

Can You Build Muscles On A Vegan Diet?

It is not impossible to put muscles on a vegan diet and many top athletes in the world are following this eating pattern. Some of the advantages of building muscles with plant-based food is improved performance, faster muscle recovery, and reduced damage from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Because plant proteins are not complete proteins, you must plan your plant-based meals properly to ensure that you get all the 9 essential amino acids in your diet. Apart from proteins, you must also get the optimal amounts of calories when working out.

You need 0.8g to 1g of protein for every 1.6 to 2 kg of body weight. Another study has shown that this is 1.4g of protein. When building muscles, you must also consider the fact that plant-based food like beans has lower calorie content than meat. For example, 100 grams of black beans have 8.5 grams of protein, while 100 grams of the chicken breast have 30 grams of protein.

The best way to ensure that you get proper nutrition on a vegan diet is to consult a dietician as they can help you to make an ideal diet plan.