Vegetarianism and Weight Loss
There are a number of vegetarian diets and variations, some of which can contribute to healthful weight loss.
The most strict type of vegetarianism is veganism, which excludes meat and dairy products. Similarly, other types of vegetarianism allow fish or even chicken. The route you choose depends on your tastes and preferences. You should also consider the dietary benefits of each.
Good Food, Not Junk Food
Some vegetarians are overweight, even more so than vegetarians, because they chose to swap healthful foods with nutritionally empty, calorie-dense food like potato chips or cookies. While these types of food certainly fit the vegetarian criteria, they aren’t healthy. The healthiest vegetarian will have a balance of vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes in their diet.
Protein and Meat
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not difficult for vegetarians to acquire enough protein without meat. Soy and quinoa are both great choices to replace meat protein. To replace the taste of meat, you can try a mushroom burger or Parmesan cheese. Cooked tomatoes and sea wood products also work.
Vegetarians and vegans should be careful to get enough omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium and vitamin D. Leafy greens like bok choy and kale, or calcium-fortified fruit juices, are great sources of nutrients. Many breakfast cereals also include vitamin D and B-12.
While some foods are included in the vegetarian or vegan category, they may not necessarily be more healthy. For example, some frozen vegetarian dinners include a great deal of calories, fat and sodium. In some meatless hot dogs and burgers, there is more sodium and less protein than actual burgers and hot dogs.
An important thing to remember is not to jump into vegetarianism or veganism. Making half your meals meatless in one week may be beneficial. If you decide that being a vegetarian is not for you, try lean cuts of meat instead and reduce your intake of red meat. Don’t forget that omnivores can be healthy as well.
Source: Health - US News