Is a vegetarian diet really suitable for permanently reducing your body weight?

Become a vegetarian and lose weight: Is it that easy?

Maybe you're toying with the idea of becoming a vegetarian to lose weight. It is often said that vegetarians have a healthy body weight. But is this simply due to the fact that they do not eat meat? Is a vegetarian diet really suitable for permanently reducing your body weight?

What does a vegetarian eat?

In order to eat vegetarian food, you first need to know what vegetarians actually eat. Vegetarians do not eat food for which an animal had to die, i.e. meat and fish as well as all foods based on this food - this includes gelatine or fish sauce, for example. Accordingly, eggs and dairy products are among the foods that vegetarians eat. However, there is a special term for people who eat vegetable foods as well as dairy products and eggs: Ovo-lacto vegetarians.

Why can a vegetarian life help you lose weight?

Those who eat vegetarian food usually automatically eat more food with a low energy density than those who eat meat and sausages regularly. Vegetables and fruit are unprocessed foods with low energy density. If you want to lose weight, you should regularly consume less calories than your body consumes. To prevent your stomach from growling, you should choose foods with a low energy density. You can eat larger amounts of them: This fills the stomach and yet you eat relatively few calories.

Some examples for the energy density of plant foods1:

  • Apple: 0,5 kcal/g
  • Grapes: 0,7 kcal/g
  • Cucumber: 0,1 kcal/g
  • Avocado: 2,2 kcal/g
  • Potatoes: 0,7 kcal/g
  • Lentils: 2,8 kcal/g

  • Of course, there are also vegetarian foods with a high energy density, as the avocados and lenses already mentioned show. But also pumpernickel (1.8 kcal/g), cornflakes (3.5 kcal/g) or olive oil (9 kcal/g) have a significantly higher energy density. You can also be a vegetarian and still enjoy eating French fries (3.3 kcal/g), camembert (4.1 kcal/g) or peanut butter (6.2 kcal/g). You are certainly aware that these foods - although vegetarian - will hardly help you lose weight. It makes a difference, however, if you replace the meat content of a dish with more vegetables or carbohydrate-based foods such as potatoes, as can be seen by looking at the energy density of some meat products:

  • Chicken breast with skin (1,5 kcal/g)
  • Mixed ground meat (1,7 kcal/g)
  • Fine liver sausage (3,3 kcal/g)
  • Salami (4 kcal/g)
  • Vienna sausages (2,6 kcal/g)

  • In particular, people who eat meat or meat products with at least one meal a day are highly likely to benefit from the changeover to a vegetarian diet and lose weight more easily and healthily.

    Why only a vegetarian diet is not enough to lose weight

    Simply become a vegetarian and lose weight automatically? Unfortunately this is not enough. As you read above, there are many foods that are vegetarian and yet contain many calories - such as cream, cheese and butter. Even cake is meatless, but if you eat a lot of it, you won't lose much weight.

    The basic tip is therefore to pay attention to a balanced diet. In any case, this includes a lot of vegetables and fruit as well as foods rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins and high-quality fats (e.g. in olive or linseed oil, walnuts or avocados). After all, you don't want to risk any deficiency symptoms.

    Apart from diet, other factors also play a role in weight loss: Adequate exercise and sport and, if possible, eight hours of sleep per night support weight reduction.

    1. Sämtliche folgende Werte zur Energiedichte: