By Angela Bekiaris: You’ve been eating right, training hard and feeling great, but no abs in sight. That bulge around the belly isn’t going anywhere. And with beach season about to come knocking, that’s the last thing you need.
But what if we told you there might be a way to lose that belly fat faster? We’re no health experts, but we do like to steal some tips from those who are, and according to dieticians, a vegan diet could do the trick. For some, at least!
Whether you’re trying out the new eating plan for a permanent lifestyle change, or just giving it a trial while you work on those abs for summer, experts say you might finally get rid of that belly fat with a new, vegan menu. Worth a shot? We sure think so!
“Eliminating animal products will typically make a diet very low in saturated fats, which can be beneficial for heart health,” Rebekah Blakely, a registered dietitian nutritionist for The Vitamin Shoppe told POPSUGAR. “Eating a vegan diet can also be very high in fibre because the main food sources include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. Fibre can help keep you full, reduce blood sugar, and support heart and gut health.”
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Senior dietician for Swanson Health, Lindsey Toth, added, “Research has shown that meat eaters tend to have a higher BMI. With its focus on nutrient-dense, plant-based whole foods, the vegan lifestyle may be better suited to keeping you trim than traditional modern diets, but you need to keep an eye on your macro and micronutrients to make sure you get everything your body needs to stay healthy.”
It’s important to get enough key nutrients if you’re going to give this a try, explain the experts, who add that you should consult with your medical professional if necessary.
According to these dieticians, when you’re not getting adequate nutrients, you may actually see the number on the scale, and the inches on your waist, creep up instead of down — your body needs enough iron, vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. “Someone following a vegan diet has to be careful to get enough protein and not eat too many processed carbohydrates if they want to lose belly fat,” Rebekah explained.
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“Just cutting out processed foods and eating more vegetables can make a huge difference in your weight management efforts,” Lindsey added. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose the belly bulge if you’re too committed to your meat and dairy. It does however mean it might be time to cut out all the bad stuff — granola bars, fruit juices, foods with a bunch of trans fats, processed eat and fat-free foods are on top of the list!
“A vegan diet is not necessarily the best way to lose belly fat,” says Joburg-based dietician Ashleigh Caradas. “It has a host of health benefits for sure, but someone eating lean chicken and fish with veggies compared to say a bread and chips vegan, is going to get better results. It really depends on how well one eats rather not the type of diet.” Caradas adds, “Although not always an exact science, lower carb diets tend to target belly fat better and the reality is vegan diets are often high in carbohydrates. It also depends what the person was eating before they switched to veganism; how they exercise; how many calories they consume; how they distribute these calories; their genetics etc. The reality of losing belly fat is not so cut and dry as ‘go vegan and lose belly fat’. A well controlled and balanced vegan diet that is low in sugar and complex carbohydrates and is adequate in vegetable protein and moderate in fat can definitely help with belly fat loss.”