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Plant-based Diet Can Help You Lose Weight

How a Plant-based Diet Can Help You Lose Weight

More and more research shows the benefits of plant-based diets for maintaining a healthy weight. Here’s how to choose the right plant-based foods to improve your overall health and lose weight.

Plant-based diets are becoming more popular in the US with 23% of people choosing a diet of mostly plant foods.

The reason is because of the growing amount of research in recent decades about the benefits of increasing plant intake and cutting back on meat, especially red meat.

While there are a lot of ways to do a plant-based diet, and some are more strict than others, the research shows that getting more plants in your diet is beneficial for your health.

So let’s break down some of the most common plant-based diets and how a plant-based diet can benefit your weight loss goals.

A plant-based diet can help you lose weight

A plant-based diet done right can help you lose weight.

“Done right” means eating whole foods instead of heavily processed plant-based foods.

For example, highly-process cereals are a plant-based option. There are no meat or animal products in them. But because they’re highly processed, they’re high in extra sugar and calories. Plus they end up not being very filling and you have to eat more to get full.

So highly processed cereal is plant-based but it is not a healthy or weight-loss friendly option.

Instead, to lose weight on a plant-based diet

So rather than cereal, choose oatmeal mixed with fruits, cinnamon, and honey to achieve a sweet and palatable flavor. 

When you choose whole foods and complex carbs over the highly processed plant options, then a plant-based diet is effective for losing weight.

One study found that those on a plant-based diet were able to cut calories more effectively than those including animal products in their diet. This is due to the nature of whole plant-based foods being higher in fiber and are more filling. So a full plant-based meal is more likely to keep you fuller longer and help you consume fewer calories.

Another review of 12 different studies found that those who followed a plant-based diet to lose weight lost significantly more than those who kept meat in their diets.

So if weight loss is your goal, a plant-based diet can help you lose weight. Plus going plant-based provides other health benefits as well.

Other health benefits of a plant-based diet

Diets low in meat and animal products are associated with lower incidents of many diseases and conditions.

According to Harvard Medical, those on a plant-based diet are less likely to develop:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer

So while losing weight on a plant-based diet is a beneficial short-term goal, cutting meat out of your diet or consuming it in moderation also has long-term health benefits.

Types of plant-based diets

Choosing a plant-based diet isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. 

While the vegan and vegetarian diets are the most commonly talked about, the category of plant-based is much broader than that.

The reason is that when you talk about a plant-based diet, the key is in thinking about what foods make up the foundation of your diet.

In other words, what do you eat the most of?

On any plant-based diet, plants will make up the majority of your diet. That means that while some people make plants 100% of their diet, for many others plants are the majority of their diet and they also eat small amounts of animal products.

That’s why the percentage of plant-based eaters is as high as 23% of the population.

If plant-based meant plants ONLY, then the percentage would be much lower. Only 2% of people consider themselves vegan or only eat plants at all times.

Below are some of the most common plant-based options out there, plus the pros and cons of choosing them.

Vegan diet

The vegan diet is one that only allows for plants. 

Many people find it unsustainable in the long term.

While restaurants and our culture as a whole grow more accommodating to a vegan diet, it’s still not easy to find balanced vegan options everywhere.

It’s also a restrictive diet. While there are many plant-based foods to choose from for a varied diet, you also have to cut out a lot of foods that are a staple in diets all over the world.

You can count out things like honey, eggs, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or anything with gelatin in the ingredient list. And of course, any meat.

While for some removing all of this from the diet is possible, for others it’s a challenge that makes a vegan diet too difficult to maintain.

But there less restrictive plant-based diets out there.

Vegetarian diet

The vegetarian diet is the less strict version of the vegan diet.

You primarily eat plants but can eat some animal-based foods.

The deciding factor on a vegetarian diet is if an animal was killed to get the product. So you can still eat eggs, honey, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. But gelatin and any meat like chicken, pork, or fish would still be off the list.

This option gives a bit more flexibility than the vegan diet. But to be done right, like the vegan diet, the vegetarian diet requires focusing on adding non-processed foods to your diet.

It’s easy to find highly processed vegetarian options and think it’s good for your health because it’s plant-based. But remember that whether you’re choosing vegan or vegetarian, the emphasis should be on choosing a wide variety of whole foods.

Flexitarian diet

A flexitarian diet is what it sounds like—a flexible diet.

The term was coined and written about by Dawn Jackson Blatner in her 2009 book, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life.

It’s a diet where someone will primarily eat plants and veg-based protein sources. But they will not say no to the occasional animal-based product or meat. 

They may choose to rarely cook it themselves or just save their meat-based meal for the rare special occasion. The purpose of the diet is to make eating more plants a consistent habit without the restrictions of a vegan, or vegetarian diet.

The flexitarian meal plan as put forward in the book also helps with weight loss by keeping calorie count around 1,500 each day. This is within a reasonable window to make weight loss progress over time. As a result, this diet is one that’s good for weight loss and for overall health as you reap the benefits of going primarily plant-based.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet doesn’t get talked about much in plant-based circles because it still includes meat in moderation.

But the diet is plant-based and predominantly made up of whole fruits, vegetables, and legumes. But you can still consume dairy and some meat.

Not only have studies shown that they’re good for heart health, managing diabetes, and weight loss. It’s also one of the most sustainable diets.

These more flexible plant-based diets are sustainable because the foundation is whole foods and plants. But there’s still room to enjoy the foods you enjoy in moderation. 

For example, with the Mediterranean diet, you can have red once a month. Fish or chicken a few times a week. You can have dairy in the form of Greek yogurt or low-fat cheese daily. And you can have wine.

The thing about dieting is that losing weight fast is only one piece of the plan. 

You also need a plan for how to keep that weight off in the long run.

And that’s why flexible diets, like the Mediterranean diet, that allow you to eat a variety of foods win across the board for weight loss and overall health. They’re both healthy and sustainable.

Looking for support to make long-term weight loss?

We offer a range of options for our clients because we know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss.

That’s why we provide a range of diet plans, injections, and supplements that help you lose weight safely and with the support of our team.

With us, you can have a slow and steady weight loss strategy, or you can get the HCG diet to lose weight fast under the supervision of our doctors.

But because the HCG diet is a short-term diet, you also need a plan to eat well and keep losing weight for the long run.

And that’s where we continue to support you until you achieve your goals.

We get to know you, your health, and your diet preferences to create a long-lasting and sustainable plan. 

While a plant-based diet can help you lose weight, we know there are many options out there to help you lose your goals.

Whether that involves a flexible diet or a more strict diet will depend on your goals and the advice from your doctor. But there is a way for you to lose weight and feel healthy again.

We’ve helped hundreds of people across the Valley and we’re here to help you too when you’re ready.

Reach out to us with any questions or visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location to start your weight loss plan today.

diet

5 Reasons Your Diet Keeps Failing

According to statistics, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. In addition to the countless hours spent calorie counting and tracking macros, Americans also spend an average of $33 BILLION on weight loss products annually. Yet, despite the large investment of money and time, a whopping 95 percent of people on diets fail. So why is that?

Well, there’s no one specific reason, but researchers have come up with some of the most common reasons people tend to fall off the diet wagon.

You Call it a “Diet”

Words are important, and one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure is by calling your new eating plan a “diet”. Sure, it might not seem like significant, but the brain responds to words in different ways and the word “diet” comes with negative connotations. Going on a diet generally implies a short-term commitment and lots of restrictions. Instead of telling yourself and other people that you’re on a diet, say you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle.

You Make It Too Restrictive

Some fad diets restrict entire food groups – carbohydrates are the big thing right now – and tell you that you can’t eat certain foods. When you tell yourself that something is off limits no matter what, it automatically makes you want it more. Funny how the brain works huh? This effect makes it harder to resist the food you’re trying to avoid and, in most cases, you’ll give in to temptation. Not only that, but you’ll end up eating more of the food than you would have if you just allowed yourself to have it occasionally. Instead of making certain foods off limits, focus on eating healthy, whole foods most of the time and allow yourself to indulge every once in a while without guilt.

You Go Too Long Without Eating

Eating healthy is not synonymous with feeling hungry all the time. If you skip meals or you don’t eat enough, it makes it more likely that you’ll overeat at the end of the day. Willpower is only so strong. Instead of skipping meals or going too long without eating, eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day and have one or two healthy snacks along the way.

Your Goals Are Unrealistic

Setting unrealistic goals is one of the most common reasons for diet failure. You may want to lose 100 pounds, but you have to understand that it’s not going to happen overnight. While that’s a great long-term goal, you should set smaller, realistic and attainable goals along the way. Instead of setting a goal to lose 20 pounds a month, set a realistic goal of 1 to 2 pounds a week. That way, anything over that will be a bonus.

You Give In To Peer Pressure

Another really common reason people fall off the diet wagon is the people they surround themselves with. When you start eating healthy, there’s a good chance that the people around you aren’t on the same page. These people may try to tempt you with unhealthy foods or try to convince you that you can have more treats than you bargained for. While it’s important to stay social, make sure you’re not letting other sabotage your efforts. Ask your family and friends to support your new lifestyle instead.

Keto Diet

The Ketogenic Diet: Is it Right for You?

The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now. If you search #keto on Instagram, you’ll be rewarded with more than 8 million posts, showcasing everything from weight loss transformations to high-fat meals to supplements, like 7-Keto Lean.

But while this diet is gaining lots of popularity and momentum, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right diet for you. Now we’re not here to tell you what’s right or wrong. We’re actually big fans of figuring out the diet that works best for you with a little trial and error. We just want to arm you with all of the information you need to make an educated decision about the ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic Diet Basics

Put simply, the ketogenic diet is a very high fat, very low carbohydrate diet that also allows a moderate intake of protein.

Dr. Russell Wilder, a medical doctor at the Mayo Clinic, developed the ketogenic diet in 1924. He developed it as a treatment for seizures in epileptic patients who weren’t responding well to medications. Despite the diet’s success, it took a backseat to anti-seizure medications during the 1940s.

The Science Behind the Ketogenic Diet

Normally, when your body needs energy, it turns to glucose, a simple sugar that you get from the carbohydrates you eat. Although carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source, you can only store limited amounts of the simple sugar. In fact, the Epilepsy Foundation says that the stores of glucose in your liver run out in about 24 hours. If you don’t give your body more carbohydrates within this 24-hour time frame, your body turns to fat for energy.

The idea behind the ketogenic diet is to force your body into using this fat-burning process by drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat and getting the majority of your calories from fat.

The Details

The ketogenic diet consists primarily of foods that are high in fat, but also allows a moderate amount of protein. Although the best macronutrient ratio depends on you as an individual (and you’ll have to play around with it a little bit to figure out your sweet spot) fat generally supplies 70 to 90 percent of calories. High-fat foods allowed on the diet include butter, mayonnaise, avocado, heavy cream and oils, such as coconut and olive oil. Most of the remaining calories, or around 10 to 30 percent, come from protein.  The major protein sources include eggs, cheese, meat, fish, and poultry. Low-carbohydrate vegetables, like spinach, kale, and zucchini are also encouraged.

Optimizing Nutrition

Because the ketogenic diet restricts so many foods, the best way to ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a wide variety of low-carbohydrate foods. Instead of eating the same meal of chicken and spinach every day, try to eat as many different foods as you can. Experiment with new types of vegetables and recipes.

Are you considering the ketogenic diet? Have you already tried it? What has your experience been? We want to know!