Calories Do Count

Plant Based Diet for Weight Loss

While it seems like there are people, and doctors out there who are declaring that you will lose weight by going on a plant based diet, it is not a given if you consume too much food. A calorie is still a calorie whether it comes from a healthy source or an unhealthy source. If you consume too many calories you will not lose weight.

plant based dietToday (April 2010) was a prime example of how not to lose weight on a plant based diet. I ate 5 vegan veggie burgers, and I ate non stop all day. I consumed nuts, seeds, fruit, gluten free bread – a lot of it (enough for 6 people for one day).

Calories still add up if you eat perpetually, particularly if the foods you are consuming are the more calorie dense plant based foods. For example nuts, beans, and grains add up if you consume a lot. If you sit down and eat a big bowl of chili and then bake a whole loaf of bread and eat it one slice at a time, until you have consumed the whole loaf, and between times you munch on nuts, you will not be able to lose weight.

The Assumptions

The assumptions that seem to be made by those who say you will automatically lose weight if you go on a plant based, low fat, no added fat, no added sugar diet are that you will eat a reasonable number of times in a day and that you will not eat excessive amounts. People who have never been obese, simply do not understand the brain or habits of a person who is morbidly obese.

I hear recently that obese people eat up to 15 times a day. If you consume 200 calories on average every time you eat and you eat 15 times a day you will be consuming 3000 calories a day. If two of these are meals with a moderate 500 calories and the rest are snacks of 200 calories, that brings the total to 3600. This type of calorie count will not allow you to lose weight.

Assumptions that Make Sense

Because sugar and oil are the most calorie dense foods on the planet it is true that eliminating these will reduce your calorie consumption. After all, you can have one tablespoon of oil on your salad or you can eat 3-4 more cups of cooked veggies and there is no question about which is going to make you feel fuller.

However, balancing the consumption of lower calorie veggies with the higher types of plant based foods such as beans and legumes, grains, and nuts will result in an overall improvement over a diet which includes plant based foods with the addition of added sugar, added oil and meat.

It is all about being well balanced. It is about eating a variety of foods, as opposed to gorging on one or two foods. It is about eating reasonable portion sizes. Yes you can eat unlimited amounts of salad, cooked green and yellow veggies, and numerous servings of fresh fruit, but to eat non-stop and assume you can still lose weight if you are consuming too many calories is not going to work.