Does Being a Vegetarian Help You Lose Weight?

Hey Davey,

I have a question: Does being a vegetarian help with weight loss?


Hey Ashley,

It may – or it may not. Though people maintain vegetarian diets for a number of reasons (i.e., moral, religious, health, etc.), it’s not a weight loss program. It’s truly a lifestyle.

I, for example, could have a vegetarian diet that consists entirely of chocolate chip cookies and upside-down cake. Yum! But clearly, such a diet would be extremely unhealthy and result in weight gain.

Losing weight is really creating a calorie deficit. That is, you consumer fewer calories than you burn. It’s all about the type of foods you eat, the size of your servings and the quality and quantity of physical activity in which you engage. Whether you’re a carnivore or a herbivore, the formula is exactly the same.

Having said that, some individuals may find that vegetarian diets typically lack saturated fat (found in animal products) and are rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and other filling – but nutritional – foods. For this reason, being a vegetarian may be more conducive to a healthier lifestyle. But it’s not a magic solution for losing weight.


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  1. I also think there’s an issue with needed protein. Your body needs protein in order to continue to uphold muscle mass. That is not to say that it’s impossible on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it just gets more tricky. We non-veg people can eat meats, poultry, etc. and so our protein intake is pretty simple. Vegetarians and vegans need to be a little more attentive. Like I said, it’s not impossible, but it requires a bit more diligence.

    • there are 9 essential amino acids (or 11, it depends who is counting) – all are found in plants – no dilligance is required, our body can store all of them in sufficient quantities for serveral months – as long as you eat somethink more than french fries with ketchup, white bread and sweets ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. andrew C. says:

    Hi Davey,

    I was wondering what you think about raw food veganism, that is only eating a diet of mainly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, smoothies and juices, and vitamin supplements of course!

    Much love,
    from Andrew

    • no vitamin supplements are requiered – as long as the plants grew in real soil (otherwise B12 might not be sufficient from food)…
      + not a single study i know showed statistically significant results that vitamins from supplements have the same health benefits like vitamins from healthy food (e.g. lowering disease rates)

      • Andrew C. says:

        o cool! Do you know which plants contain sufficient amounts of b12 because that would be soo much better and healthier than taking a processed vitamin supplement ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Andrew, most smoothies contain yogurt which is not a vegan product.
      I wanted to try a vegan diet for a month to see if A. I could do it, and B. make me think of alternative meal options. So I was vegan for all of January. I lost 20 pounds without really trying.

      But, vegan means no animal products at all, no milk, cheese, eggs, butter. Some consider honey to be vegan, but I left it on my diet as granola (which has honey) with almond milk was one of my staple breakfasts.

      • Andrew C. says:

        When i said smoothies, i meant more of like tossing a bunch of fruits and veg in with oj and ice and blending it up :), yogurt smoothies are totally a no no for vegans ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I believe that. I have been a vegetarian for almost 10 years now. I will admit I lost a lot of weight at first. I went from being 155lbs to being 130lbs in a month, but I found it was because my mom and I didn’t understand what I needed to eat and where I could get the needed nutriance from. After studying it some more and eating right, I gained weight again going from 130lbs to 140-150lbs, depending on how much water i drink that day. That and I do yoga so =)

  4. Hey Davey,
    Whats your opinion on the Paleolithic diet. I’ve had success with my overall health, however I would love your opinion. I don’t think there is one optimal diet, different things work for different people.


  5. calorie deficit is not the only way to optimal weight – people eating whole-foods plant based foods simply aren’t obese – how many fat vitarians do you know?? – without any correlation with calorie intake whatsoever (you might want to see

    and no, milk is not a plant, neither is fish

    one observation for all – butter is solid at body temperature, olive oil is liquid …

    • I’m familiar with the china study, and I’t is possible to be fat on a plant based diet. A good friend of mine who is a raw vegan is not really close to skinny, and she lost a lot of weight from a conventional vegan diet to a raw vegan, however not all of it. I still believe whole foods and no processed foods is still the key to good health, but weight loss can also come from insulin control. Meat doesn’t spike your insulin, however starchy carbohydrates do. Also if you’ve read the china study you might, (or might not) want to check out this

      • of course there are a lot of factors to weight,, but who would want to ignore the by-far-the-biggest one? ๐Ÿ˜‰ thanks for the link,, i’ll check it..

      • nice critique (also my head is spinning after reading it on the screen) – i did not notice any objections about herbivores being thinner than meat-eaters, however ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. jim cornwall says:

    I was a vegetarian for 2.5 years and I GAINED over 55lbs. I was eating lots of processed foods. I’m now back to eating meat and less processed foods. I have known a number of overweight vegetarians. Cheese and potatoes aren’t low calorie. I’m hoping to drop some weight now!

  7. christopher says:

    this past summer i went to a veggie fest-gr8 idea.then took a 5 day pledge.i made it to over two weeks.i noticed that my energy levels dropped significantly.from day to day-i might go veggie-but a little poultry-beef-fish help.especially fish.for me veggie and fish works.protein is the key.maybe going veggie with a protein shake?

  8. Samatha says:

    I have been able to lose weight with the vegetarian over the last couple of months. But what has really helped me do it correctly is by educating myself on healthy weight loss. A course that helped me do is Vegetarian’s Beginner’s Guide 30 Day Course who helps you to transition into the vegetarian lifestyle properly

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