By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com
Although cutting meat from your diet is often promoted as a good weight-loss strategy, it’s no guarantee of dropping pounds. After all, sugar is both vegetarian and vegan, and the explosion of vegan cupcake cookbooks is proof that you can cut all animal products out of your diet and still eat a lot of dessert.
We all know that vegetables make up the basis of a healthy diet, but finding a plan that you can stick to may be a challenge. Vegetarians who want to lose weight may turn to the structure and support of a commercial diet plan. And while it’s not openly promoted, a variety of popular weight-loss plans do accommodate the vegetarian lifestyle.
As most people know, Weight Watchers is organized around PointsPlus values instead of calories. There are no foods that are forbidden on Weight Watchers, as long as you stay within your PointsPlus limit for the day. The way points are assigned to foods incentivizes participants in the program to eat foods that are less dense in calories and more high in fiber. This makes Weight Watchers an extremely flexible plan, and it easily accommodates a range of health and lifestyle needs, including vegetarians. No matter if you choose to follow the program online or sign up for meetings in your area, Weight Watchers has lots of recipes for vegetarians, and also provides information on how to stay well-nourished while losing weight on a plant-based diet.
Nurtrisystem is a meal delivery weight-loss program, which means that low-calorie, nutritionally-balanced meals will be delivered right to your home. Nutrisystem offers vegetarian plans for both men and women. There are over 90 meatless meals that feature foods that have a low-glycemic index to help you feel full longer and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
If you’re looking for a meal delivery diet that specializes in vegan meals, you may also want to consider Gobble Green. This meal delivery service features foods that are entirely free of animal products.
South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet is a three-phase weight-loss program created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist. It’s often referred to as a low-carb diet, because the first phase eliminates all refined starches and sugars. The diet emphasizes lean protein, which means that vegetarians can expect to eat plenty of tofu, beans and other meat-substitutes, in addition to high-fiber vegetables, low-fat dairy and unsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and olives. Your options may be a little more limited than on Weight Watchers, but South Beach certainly has lots of ways to accommodate a meat-free lifestyle.
17 Day Diet
Launched last winter, The 17 Day Diet, by Dr. Mike Moreno, is one of the most popular new diets of this year. The diet features four 17-day cycles, which are designed to give users a quick start to their weight loss followed by steady progression towards a goal weight. Of course, with any diet this popular, people want to know if there are vegetarian-friendly options. Like the South Beach Diet, The 17 Day Diet places a lot of importance on sources of lean protein. For vegetarians, this will mean tofu, low-fat cheese, egg whites, beans, legumes and low-fat dairy. Veggie burgers and black bean burgers are also great options for people who don’t eat meat and are interested in this diet. In the first cycle, which is the most strict, some vegetarians may feel their options are somewhat limited, but as more foods are introduced in later cycles this is less of a problem.
The controversial Dukan Diet gained much attention after rumor spread that it was favored by Kate Middleton before her wedding. This ultra-low carb diet is one plan that would be extremely challenging for vegetarians. It not only excludes most kinds of fruit and grains, but also starchy vegetables. On the FAQ section of the UK Dukan Diet site, the answer to the question regarding vegetarianism begins: “First of all, are you really sure you refuse meat and fish?” Although there are guidelines for soy-based meat substitutes, eggs, and dairy products, more vegetarians would find this diet way too restrictive.