When it comes to eating better and maintaining your natural weight, there are many diet programs on the market that make some powerful promises. However, one of the most common diets is based not only on losing weight, but also on avoiding consuming any animal or animal-related products. Vegetarianism has been around for many decades and promoted as one of the healthiest ways to eat, especially for those looking to lose weight.
But does it really live up to all of its promises? Here are the pros and cons of going vegetarian when it comes to your daily eating habits.
The Pros of Vegetarianism
The essence of the vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables and legumes is very low in saturated fats, the type that tends to pack on the pounds. In fact, it’s possible to eat filling meals and actually lose weight thanks to the fat-burning qualities of some of the fruits and vegetables that are found in vegetarian meals.
Better Heart Health:
Studies have shown that vegetarian diets are good for the heart as they include plenty of potassium, fruits, legumes and whole grains which are very low in saturated fats. In addition, they are also helpful to blood pressure and in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. This means that consuming a healthy amount of fruits, vegetables and legumes will help bring out healthier benefits.
High in Fiber:
Fiber offers many benefits to the body that can be most helpful when it comes to better digestion, lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body and even improving heart health. For those who consume plenty of fiber during the day, this can also help keep down hunger cravings and prevent excessive snacking.
Fewer Processed Foods:
By consuming more unprocessed foods, your body will get the nutrition it needs without having the added sugars and preservatives that pack on the pounds. In fact, snacking by eating an apple or carrots can provide plenty of nutrition without providing the excess fat or carbohydrates that will often add pounds to the frame.
The Cons of Vegetarianism
Lack of Protein:
The vegetarian diet has very few sources of protein apart from certain legumes or beans which would need to be a required part of the diet in order to help maintain muscle mass.
Lack of Calcium, Iron and Zinc:
Plant food does not generally supply the required amounts of these minerals to the body which would mean having to go more towards supplements in order to make up the difference.
Lack of Riboflavin:
While consuming milk would help balance out the need for riboflavin, a vegetarian who does not want to consume any animal-produced product can turn to soy, yogurt, broccoli or bananas to have enough riboflavin.
Overall, sticking to a vegetarian diet does offer some complications in the lack of certain vitamins, minerals, proteins and riboflavin that must be made up for with supplements or consuming certain animal-related products. For those who can live without meat, the vegetarian diet does offers certain benefits that will help you lower your weight and live healthy.