Many people choose a vegan lifestyle for ethical, health, or environmental reasons. But if you're solely going meat-, dairy-, and egg-free because you think it will help you drop pounds, you may end up gaining rather than losing weight. Remember that just because a food is vegan doesn't mean it's healthier or lower in calories. Keep these points in mind to avoid plumping up on your vegan diet.
- Chowing on vegan junk: French fries, tortilla chips, and Swedish Fish are all free of animal products, but they're also high in fat, sugar, and calories. Just because some junk food is vegan doesn't mean it's healthier.
- Loading up on bread and pasta: Many people don't know how to cook vegan meals, so when you head to a dinner party or out to a restaurant, get ready to eat some dinner rolls and spaghetti! There's nothing wrong with eating bread or pasta, it's just that they're high in calories. A dinner roll will run you over 200 calories, and although one cup of cooked pasta is a little over 200 calories, plates tend to be two or three times larger than an appropriate serving size. If bread and pasta are staples in your vegan diet, it's no wonder your pants are fitting a little snug.
Keep reading to find out the other ways a vegan diet is contributing to weight gain.
- But that cupcake is vegan!: Made with butter, milk, and eggs, most cookies and cakes are off-limits. But missing out can be a little depressing. When you stumble upon a vegan carrot cupcake with Tofutti cream cheese frosting, you indulge. Go ahead and enjoy vegan treats once in a while, but eat your sweets in moderation. Like junk food, animal-free foods do not equal calorie-free treats.
- Nuts for protein: Snacking on handfuls of nuts, smearing peanut butter on your banana, and wondering why the scale numbers are increasing? Yes, nuts are a great source of protein for vegans, but they're also high in calories — a two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter will run you 210 calories! Do check out these protein-rich, low-calorie vegan meals.
- Overdoing it on the dairy-free products: It's amazing how much Daiya cheese and Soy Delicious nondairy frozen desserts taste just like the real thing. It can be really exciting to discover these foods after living without them for so long, but a vegan can't live on dairy-free ice cream alone.