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Never in a million years would I think that a plant-based lifestyle could go wrong. Did you know that the plant-based diet has gone viral lately, especially in the celebrity communities. As of 2022, 55 stars have transitioned to a vegan, meatless lifestyle. On the other hand, veganism has backfired on other home fronts. Questions are lingering as to “what makes vegans fat?” You may also question why so many people are going vegan.
What Makes a Vegan Fat?
At the core of every true vegan is the belief that all animals are sentient beings. Therefore, this emotional attachment is why they believe animals have a right to life and freedom. Even though vegans do not eat meat, they are still gaining weight. So, what makes vegans fat? What’s up with veganism?
Vegan Diets Do Not Promote Fat
Veganism is not just a diet; it is a lifestyle. Vegan lifestyle is about modifying food choices that cause harm to animals, no matter how great or small. A meatless diets aim to reduce animal suffering and advocate for a more compassionate world by avoiding products made from animals. As such, going vegan is both a food and lifestyle choice. At the end of the day, a vegan lifestyle offers a plethora of health benefits. Research shows that a vegan diet help do the following:
- Promote weight loss
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower risk of certain cancers (colon)
- Lowers A1C levels (manage diabetes)
- Why Do Vegans Become Overweight?
There is no one specific reason why certain vegans continue to gain weight. There is not a one-size-fit-all answer to this question. We must look at the facts, one case at a time. Let’s exam some of these unique reasons starting with processed vegan foods:
- Processed Vegan Foods
- Coconut Oil and Olive Oil
- Snacking Before Meals
- Drink Your Calories?
- Eating Too Many Nuts
- Mental and Emotional Ties to Food
- Processed Vegan Foods
Some people assume vegetarian or vegan meals are automatically healthier than meat-and dairy-based options. However, that’s not always the case. Many plant-based snacks and meals are highly processed, calorie-laden, or are secretly harboring vast quantities of sugar and sodium. Take Vegan meat for example.
What’s the Deal with Vegan Meat?
Vegan “meat” is created through processing hydrogenated vegetable oils, processed soy, flavor and color additives. The danger with plant-based alternatives is that they are perceived as healthier than their counterparts even though they are still considered ultra-processed foods (UPFs). In fact, research links so-called “ultra-processed foods,” such as veggie burgers, to increased cardiovascular disease if consumed over time. Coconut Oils are just as bad. They also contribute to weight gain.
Coconut Oil and Olive Oil
So, if you like coconut milk or coconut oil you can certainly enjoy it as part of your diet. However, moderation is the key since it packs a serious amount of fat and calories. If you enjoy coconut oil, use it in moderation. Too much causes weight gain, even on a vegan diet. Also, curb your enthusiasm for snacking before meals.
Snacking Before Meals
It’s not true that eating a vegan diet means to just eat as much you want and you will be thin and healthy. Discipline goes a long way. In fact, this mindset is the exact reason why you’re still trapped in binge eating. You think the sky is the limit when it comes to portion size and snacking. Eating snacks before, during, and after meals, is a guaranteed way to put on extra pounds on any diet. Also, watch those smoothie drinks.
Drink Your Calories
So, you and I are in the same boat. We both love smoothies. Just keep in mind that all calories count. Smoothies are a plant-based diet’s savior when you’re strapped for time. Just throw everything in the blender and voila! You are good to go. Wait a second. But are they healthy?
Here’s why it is important to be mindful of what you put in your smoothies. Even plant-based smoothies can run the risk of spiking your blood sugar and may throw your health out of balance. Smoothies can hide calories big time. Here are things to remember about smoothies:
- Liquids don’t always make us feel full
- You feel hungrier after drinking a smoothie
- Drink it slowly, don’t chug it down
- High-acid smoothie damage tooth enamel (2014 Study)
- Choose low-sugar, nutritious liquids (unsweetened almond milk, oat, or soy milk)
- Add berries (super antioxidants)
- Sweeten with whole fruit not fruit juice
- Add greens (spinach, kale, celery)
- Add whole food plant-based protein (1/2 cup steel cut oats contain 14 grams of plant-based protein). Peanut butter or all-natural nut butters, ground chia seeds, spirulina.
- Use fats thoughtfully. Avocado, whole nuts, unsweetened coconut, cacao nibs are excellent sources of fats.
Are Nuts okay on a Vegan Diet?
In an article found on the Vegan Coach website, two well-known, established physicians, Dr. Robert Esselstyn and Dr. T. Colin Campbell dialogue about nuts. Dr. Esselstyn says no nuts for vegans, while Dr. Campbell places nuts on his approved list. Here’s a little background information:
Dr. Esselstyn treats heart disease patients and has been known for reversing heart disease using a low-fat vegan diet. Although, he is not a big fan of patients eating nuts, here is what he has to say:
Dr. Esselstyn’s Take on Not Eating Nuts:
“For those with established heart disease to add more saturated fat is inappropriate. For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and can achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable.”
Dr. Campbell’s Take on Eating Nuts:
“We can also get our energy from other forms of storage – I’m thinking of nuts and seeds. They are pretty high in fat, and that’s a form of energy, so some of that is just fine.”
Nuts and Weight Gain:
Dr. Lee Crosby recommends nuts and seeds as part of a balanced vegan diet. She also recommends measuring out your nuts (1/4 cup) before snacking so when they’re gone, you’re done with the snack.
Despite popular belief that nuts cause weight gain, another nutrition expert, Dr. Greger, states that “the evidence is stronger than ever that the consumption of nuts does not lead to the weight gain one would expect.” Not only does healthy nutrition play a key role in sustainable health, mental and emotional connection to food is vitally important.
Check out the following video: https://youtu.be/ SVSe2vaxXXM
Mental and Emotional Ties to food
We all turn to food for comfort, consciously or unconsciously. When facing a difficult problem, or when we feel stressed out or bored, we turn to food. Some people self-medicate with food. As a result, food becomes a stress reliever. However, emotional eating sabotages your weight-loss efforts.
Foods high in fat, sugar and salt become more appealing when under stress. Emotional eating becomes a bad habit. Emotional eating affects anyone, regardless of their age, gender, or life stages. (Screenshot)
Causes of Emotional Eating
- Lack of introspective awareness (realizing how you feel)
- Alexithymia (lack of ability to understand, process, or describe emotions)
- Emotional dysregulation (inability to manage emotions)
- Hormonal imbalance
Impossible Meat is Highly Processed Food?
Lab-grown foods like the Impossible Burger represents the ultimate conflict in health information. We’re told that plant-based diets are healthy, but we’re also told that processed foods are unhealthy. The Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger and other faux meat products are plant-based but highly processed. How do we know if we are eating healthy or unhealthy foods?
What is the Healthiest Diet in the World?
Mediterranean Diet, DASH Diet, and Flexitarian Diets remain the best diets of 2022. All three diets are recommended by doctors because of their known health benefits. The Mediterranean eating plan doesn’t have a set calorie range or portion guidelines, which is why it fits almost anyone’s needs (healthline.com). Can healthy foods keep our hormones in balance?
Check out https://youtu.be/SMsy_XuofMo
How Does Hormones Affect Your Weight Levels?
According to WebMD, Lecithin is a mixture of fats that are essential to cells in the human body. It is found in many foods, including soybeans and egg yolks. In the diet, Lecithin is the main source of choline, a nutrient like B vitamins.
A commercial form of Lecithin is commonly used in the preparation of food, cosmetics, and medications, as it extends the life and acts as an emulsifier. In fact, it is “generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When taken in reasonable amounts, it is unlikely to cause adverse reactions. Consequently, Lecithin does not cause weight gain. It is quite the opposite of Leptin.
This hormone is extremely important because it tells your body when to stop eating. Leptin circulates in the blood and acts on the brain to regulate food intake and energy expenditure. When you gain weight, leptin levels increase, suppressing appetite until weight is lost.
Too much Leptin, has the opposite effect. If too much Leptin builds up in your blood, you may develop leptin resistance. When this happens, the leptin in your body does not perform effectively, resulting in weight gain. The exact cause of leptin resistance is unknown, but obesity and stress may be the culprit.
When you are under stress, anxious and you are not getting enough sleep, your cortisol levels increase. Thus, Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels lead to increased visceral fat. When your levels get out of whack, it’s time to get those levels under control by getting tested. Your insulin levels also cause stress on the body.
Insulin helps you carry glucose into your body cells to use as energy. However, if you are binging on unhealthy foods, this leads to insulin resistance. So, if your cells block insulin and become too resistant to insulin, it results in elevated blood sugar levels that lead to weight gain and other medical conditions. Losing weight with insulin resistance is more difficult because the body stores excess blood sugar as fat. Unfortunately, hormones also cause weight gain, even on a vegan diet.
Hormonal Weight Gain in Men Versus Women
A vegan or exclusively plant-based diet make periods lighter and less painful, which is good. Over time, however, an exclusively plant-based diet causes irregular or heavy periods due to impaired ovulation and low progesterone.
Hormonal weight gain effects different areas in men and women. Men tend to gain excess weight in the abdominal area. However, premenopausal women add pounds around the hips and thighs. After menopause, women gain weight in the abdomen and develop a “menopausal belly.”
You completed this episode of What Makes Vegans Fat. Thank you for hanging in there with me. I also realize this is a very sensitive topic for many people, especially if you have been trying your best to go green, clean, or vegan.
Leaning toward a plant-based lifestyle is one of the best things you can do if you have struggled with your weight. Going beyond plant-based into a Vegan lifestyle is even more intense. However, if you are sincere in whatever lifestyle you choose, you will reap the benefits in due time. Stick to your plan and keep moving forward.
Thanks for joining me today and I look forward to hearing more from you. Feel free to leave your questions and comments below and I will be glad to have a conversation with you. You can also send me an email and I will be more than glad to get back to you as soon as possible.
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2 thoughts on “What Makes Vegans Fat? – A Healthy Way to Gain Weight”
This is a great read! I appreciate the time, energy, and research you put into this article! This was awesome and very informative! Keep Shining! Thank you so much!
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts. My goal is to shed a little light on things related to health and wholesome living.
However, if anyone on a restrictive diet such as a vegan, stays on a plant-based regime, they will have positive results. I am very grateful for your input because
you an amazing influencer in the health and wellness industry. I commend you for making a such wonderful impact in your community and in the world.