Will You Lose Weight As a Vegetarian?

Will You Lose Weight As a Vegetarian?If you read weight loss advice in diet books, magazines, or on the Internet, you might conclude that a vegetarian diet is a guaranteed way to lose weight. Although surveys show that vegetarians tend to weigh less than meat-eaters, you may not experience sustained weight loss by turning vegetarian.

A recent study compared the eating habits of people before and after they began eating vegetarian. After following a self-selected vegetarian diet for six months, the calorie consumption of these people dropped by almost 200 calories per day.

Their weight did not change, but people seemed to be leaner. There were reductions in their waist and hip measurements, as well as their skinfold measure of body fat stores.

A British study did find weight differences between vegetarians and meat-eaters. This study divided more than 65,000 participants into four groups: meat-eaters, fish-eaters, lacto-ovo vegetarians (who eat eggs and dairy products but no meat), and vegans (who eat no animal products).

The body mass index (BMI), which is the most common way to measure body fatness, was at a healthy level in all groups.

But the meat-eaters had the highest BMI as a group, which brought them closest to being overweight. Fish-eaters and lacto-ovo vegetarians had similar, intermediate BMI averages, while vegans had the lowest. Among meat-eaters, 7 percent of the men and 9 percent of the women were obese. In the fish-eater and lacto-ovo groups, 3 percent of the men and 4 percent of the women were obese. Only 2 percent of the men and women vegans were obese.


  1. I became vegan in March. During this time I've lost 31 pounds and will likely lose a little more.

    I have not dieted, but have tried to maintain a strict vegan diet.

    I have not starved myself or felt hungry. I eat as much as I want at each meal. I'm right exactly in the middle of the BMI chart for my height.

    This is the thinnest I've been in 35 years.

    Unless you live on fries and other unhealthy food, I don't know how you can be overweight if you maintain a strict vegan diet.


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