Does The Vegan Diet Really Work For Weight Loss?

Yes, it does, and it works quite well. It might just be the best overall diet for weight loss in the world. Why would that be? Well, we will dive into that below by answering several of the top questions that are being asked online.

Be sure to read each sub-headline so that you are sure you don’t miss any questions that you have as well. 

Disclaimer: The following is for educational purposes only. We are not advocating a change in dietary, health, or exercise protocols. Please seek the advice or council of your nutritionally educated health care practitioner before engaging in any dietary or exercise changes.

Now without further ado, let’s dive right into those questions.

Now without further ado, let’s dive right into those questions.

Can You Lose Weight On A Vegan Diet?

Yes, you sure can. A really great 2-year study showed that participants who ate a vegan diet lost significantly more weight than a group of similarly aged, raced and sexed group who ate a low-fat diet instead.

How much more weight you might ask? 

Well, the vegan group lost an average of 21 more pounds over 2 years than the low-fat diet group.

You might think that’s not such a big deal, but in terms of the percentage of body fat that the vegans lost VS the low-fat group, it’s incredibly significant. 

The vegan group reduced their average body fat mass percentage by a whopping 111% more than the low-fat group did. 

This means that, once you account for water loss, muscle atrophy, and organ tissue loss, the vegan group lost more than double the amount of total body fat as the low-fat group. 

These people were monitored and held accountable at group meetings for 2 years. The vegan group also had more than a 20% greater adherence and retention factor than the low-fat group. 

This means that over 20% more of the low-fat group dropped out and could not complete the study because they felt that they could not adhere to the diet. 

This means that a vegan diet is also much easier to stick with and stay on for the long term.

This makes sense because we know that there are lifetime vegans (born and raised vegans) out there who are in their 30s. We know dozens of people who have been vegan for 30 years or more and hundreds who have been for 10 years or more.

The real reason that there aren’t more than 30-plus vegans is that it’s only been really popular in the USA for about the last 10 years. 

Now, attempt to compare that with people who have been able to adhere to any other diet for even just 5 years or more, and you won’t find very many if any at all.

By other diets, we mean low carb, low fat, Atkins, The Carnivore Diet, The Snake Diet, and all the rest of them. 

Yes, there is a diet called the Snake Diet, and we will cover it in depth in an upcoming article. It’s as weird as it sounds, so keep checking back on the site. You won’t want to miss this one.

fat loss

Will Eating Vegan Cause Weight Loss?

Yes, for most people who become vegan, weight loss is just a natural occurrence. The reason being is that it’s pretty hard to be overweight while eating copious amounts of fruits and vegetables. The two are just not compatible with each other.

However, you can get fat and you can get huge on a vegan diet if you eat all the vegan junk food. What you have to remember is that Oreos, beer, French fries, and many doughnuts are all vegan. 

So, you can most definitely gain weight on a vegan diet, if you’re just eating junk.

This brings up a point of clarity that needs to be made. The diet that we ascribe to is a whole food vegan diet. This is to say that you stay away from all processed foods when possible. 

You want to eat foods in their whole natural state. I.E. don’t drink orange juice, eat oranges instead. With the juice, unless you juice it fresh at home, it’s pasteurized and generally has a bunch of chemicals in it too, so they can keep it fresh. When you drink the juice, you spike your insulin levels because you’ve removed all that beneficial fiber that slows the breakdown of it and helps feed your microbiome, move food through your intestines, and keep your intestines and colon clean. 

Don’t eat bread, eat a bowl of oatmeal instead. This bread has gone through massive changes since it was whole grain. Generally speaking, those grains were sheathed, milled, bleached, and cooked to a minimum. They don’t resemble anything close to whole grains any longer.

Whole grains stabilize your blood sugar levels, and bread raises your blood sugar levels. Yes, even what they call “whole grain” bread, which does not mean what you think.

It means that before they started all those processes, it was whole grains they started with. 

You know this to be true because if it was still whole grain, it wouldn’t hold together and form bread, it would be a bag of loose, whole grains that you’d pour into a bowl and eat. 

So, when you eat vegan, you stay fuller longer, you don’t spike your insulin nearly as much, and you naturally just eat fewer calories, which all contribute to weight loss. 

Then there is also the meat fat component of staying lean. When you overeat fat, you get fat. 

Just to show you one little example: one cup of broccoli has 25 calories while one cup of butter has 1,627 calories, virtually all of which come from fat.

The broccoli is health-promoting and the butter is health-degenerating. Which would you rather have to sit and eat a cup of?

Why Do Vegans Lose Weight So Fast?

The Vegan Diet

The answer to that question lies in the fact that vegans eat, or at least should eat, a relatively whole food diet. We would like to shoot for the whole diet being whole foods. However, we know that in this day and age, that won’t happen for most people. 

What we strongly advocate for is as many whole foods in your diet as possible. Keep processed foods, or even partially processed foods, to an absolute minimum.

When you do this, you literally can’t help but lose weight. 

Here’s why.

When you substitute a doughnut for an apple, you eat far fewer calories in the same relative physical space and space in time. You don’t spike your blood sugar, or eat bad fats or processed junk. Instead, you help keep the doctor away with your one apple a day. 

When you substitute 4 slices of bread for a large bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, blueberries, and shaved almonds on top, you get the heart-healthy fiber that the FDA allows for the claim of lowering cholesterol. You get all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals along with antioxidants that do all sorts of things to help keep you healthy. 

The bread clogs your digestive tract, leading to constipation, has artificial vitamins and minerals added back into it, and raises your blood sugar, potentially helping you to become diabetic. 

We could go on and on and on about all the foods you could replace, but we’re sure you get the point.

Each of those foods is far lower in calories for its relative volume, which keeps you full longer, has health-building nutrients that cut your cravings for more junk food, and these things combined just naturally help you lose weight without any effort at all.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight On A Vegan Diet?

Generally speaking, you will most likely start losing weight from the very first day, unless you were on a low-carb diet right before you switched. In that case, you might experience a few pounds of weight gain in the first few days as you reload your system with carbohydrates. 

Each gram of carbs holds 4 grams of water. So, even if you just reloaded 200 grams of carbs from being in a carb deficit, you would still load 800 grams of water weight with it. 

Other than that, you should expect to start seeing results right away if you’re eating a whole food vegan diet that has even the slightest caloric deficit. 

Heck, even if you’re not in a deficit, you’ll likely lose weight at just maintenance calories because your body has to use up calories to digest and work with all that food volume and fiber.

Plus, your blood sugar levels will likely be lower, which means insulin will be too, which naturally leads to weight loss.

How Much Weight Can You Lose On A Vegan Diet?

As much as you want. The vegan diet is one of the very few that you can live on for the rest of your life. There is no reason why you’d ever have to stop, so you can go as long as you need to lose as much as you want. Then stay on it for life if you please.

Can You Gain Muscle On A Vegan Weight Loss Diet?

Sure, you can. When you lift weights and eat a caloric deficit, your body uses the extra fat calories you’ve stored to fuel muscle growth. You will metabolize more fat than just dieting alone because it’s also being used to grow the new lean tissue. 

This works best in untrained individuals who start weight training and dieting at the same time. Highly trained bodies don’t feel the need to adapt as rapidly as untrained bodies. This new stimulus to the untrained is powerful enough to spur physic augmentation.

What Is A Good Vegan Weight Loss Diet For Beginners?

To start with, just find your baseline and eat the number of calories to achieve maintenance. Just because you’ve switched your diet from processed foods to whole foods, you will begin to see changes in your appearance. Then, once you know your maintenance calorie number, reduce that by 100 calories per day and add 45 minutes to an hour of cardiovascular training.

This combination will be more than enough to get the ball rolling and have you lose some weight.

If you hit a plateau and stop losing weight for 3 weeks in a row, then start adding in some weight training or another cardio session per week. This should be enough to restart the fat loss process.

Only reduce calories again when you absolutely must. Otherwise, keep calories as high as possible.

Will A Vegan Weight Loss Diet Work For A Female?

Absolutely. Once you calculate the fat mass vs. lean body mass to get your baseline caloric needs, there is very little difference in a female or male diet program. Yes, there are a few hormonal challenges that need to be addressed, such as women’s need even more than men’s to ensure they have adequate iron and essential fatty acid intake so they can maintain hormones and hemoglobin manufacture. 

So, yes, without a doubt, a vegan diet can work for a woman equally as well as for a man.

What Should My Macros Be On A Vegan Weight Loss Diet?

This is going to vary depending on your exercise routine and goals. For a non-athlete, getting 15% to 20% of your calories from protein, 15% to 20% from fat, and the rest of them from carbohydrates should be a decent starting point that you can adjust based on your results.

Athletes will need to adjust this based on their specific sport. A bodybuilder in the off-season should do well with 30% of their calories coming from protein. Whereas a bodybuilder dieting for a show may need to bump that up to 40% of calories coming from protein to help avoid lean tissue loss while dieting. 

Cyclists will be different, powerlifters different, basketball players again different. 

Start modestly and adjust from there based on the results you’re getting.