The raw vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets around, and it’s also good for the planet too. Eating less processed food, less sugar, less salt, fewer trans fats, and more natural, nutrient-dense food means your body gets everything it needs to stay healthy, and less of the stuff that makes you sick.
The raw vegan diet is also an excellent way to lose weight and keep it off. In fact, a lot of raw vegans discovered this diet because they wanted to lose weight, but then stuck with it because of its many healthful benefits.
So how does the raw food diet help you lose weight? Good question. In this article, we will lift the lid on what makes the raw vegan diet so effective for weight loss, and what to do if you are already a raw vegan who wants to shed some unwanted pounds.
Why you lose weight on a raw vegan diet
Most dieters lose weight fast on the raw vegan diet. Some lose as much as ten pounds in the first two weeks. This weight loss will then stabilize in the following weeks and months, but, even then, the raw vegan diet produces very appreciable weight loss results.
Weight loss occurs for several reasons.
1. Significant reduction in calories
Weight gain is mainly caused by eating too many calories. When you eat too many calories, the unused energy is converted to and stored as body fat. It doesn’t matter if those calories come from fat, protein, or carbs; any excess will end up as stored body fat.
Processed foods contain a lot of calories but aren’t usually very filling. This means it’s very easy to eat more than you need. For example, a typical cookie contains 80-100 calories, and most people would eat several in one sitting. Some are even engineered to make you want to eat more, and large quantities of sugar and salt can make these foods addictive and moreish.
Raw vegan foods are naturally much lower in calories and higher in fiber. This makes them more filling. As a result, you can eat a lot more food while ingesting far fewer calories, which will lead to weight loss. For example, an apple contains just 60-80 calories, is much more filling than a cookie, and you won’t want or need to eat more than one or two per day. Simply swapping cookies for apples will help reduce your calorie intake.
When you eat fewer calories than usual, you create an energy shortfall. Faced with fewer calories, your body must use stored body fat to make up the difference. One pound of body fat contains about 3,500 calories. Eating less processed food and more raw vegan food means you’ll eat fewer calories per day, and that is what causes weight loss.
2. Water loss
Some new raw vegan dieters notice that they urinate more than usual when they start their new diet. This is because of glycogen depletion. When you cut foods like bread, rice, pasta, and breakfast cereals from your diet, you also reduce your carbohydrate intake. Lowering your carb intake forces your body to make better use of its onboard carb supplies – a substance called glycogen. Glycogen is simply glucose bound to water.
As your body releases glycogen for energy, it also releases the water. This water is then excreted, which leads to weight loss.
Water loss is responsible for most of the initial rapid weight loss. As you get used to eating raw vegan foods, this should stabilize, and subsequent weight loss will be fat.
3. Reduced hunger
Most raw vegan foods contain a lot of fiber. Fiber is indigestible and also calorie-free. It is found in the flesh and skins of fruit and vegetables, as well as seeds, nuts, and grains. Fiber is bulky and moves through your digestive system slowly. This makes it very filling.
Hunger is a leading cause of overeating and, therefore, weight gain. It’s all too easy to eat a lot of non-fibrous foods as they don’t fill you up. Raw vegan foods that are also high in fiber (and that’s most of them) will fill you up and keep you feeling full for hours at a time. This prevents overeating, which further reduces your calorie intake. With less hunger to contend with, you should find sticking to your diet much more comfortable.
What if weight loss stalls on the raw vegan diet?
Done right, the raw vegan diet should lead to easy, sustainable weight loss. You can fill up on fibrous veggies and sweet-tasting fruit, keeping hunger at bay the whole time. However, some dieters experience weight loss plateaus and even gain weight when they go raw vegan.
The good news is that these problems are usually easy to fix.
Go easy on the fruit juices and smoothies
Fruit is a delicious and common part of the raw vegan diet. However, some fruits are high in calories, and when you juice or blend them into smoothies, it’s very easy to consume a lot of calories in a single meal.
Avoid sabotaging your weight loss efforts by not consuming too much fruit juice and too many fruit smoothies. Vegetable juice is invariably lower in calories.
Limit your intake of nuts and seeds
Raw nuts and seeds are valuable sources of healthy fat, protein, fiber, and nutrients, but they are also high in calories. Even a small portion of nuts or seeds can contain a lot of calories, and they are very easy to eat in large amounts.
You don’t have to swear off nuts and seeds on the raw vegan diet, but you should limit your intake to just a couple of ounces per day. Pre-measure your portions to prevent accidental overeating.
Watch your fat intake
Of all the foods on the raw vegan diet, fats contain the most calories per gram. Because of this, adding just a little fat to your meals will significantly increase your calorie intake. While things like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados are undeniably healthy, you should limit your consumption of fats if you want to maximize weight loss or avoid weight gain.
If you really want to avoid any fat-related weight gain issues, consider adopting the 80 10 10 diet where only 10% of your calories come from fat.
Increase your physical activity
The more active you are, the more calories you will burn per day. Being sedentary means your daily calorie expenditure will be quite low. To force your body to burn fat, you will have to reduce your food intake significantly. Alternatively, instead of eating less, you can move more, increasing your calorie expenditure.
It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do; all physical activity can contribute to weight loss. You can walk or jog, go to the gym and lift weights, play sports, swim, cycle – it’s all good. Even gardening and household chores burn calories. Just try to sit less and move more.
How to maintain your weight
A lot of dieters lose and then regain weight with the raw vegan diet. Why? Because after reaching their target weight, they revert back to their previous unhealthy diet. In many cases, dieters often regain more weight than they have lost, something called the yoyo dieting effect.
Avoid this problem by not changing your diet too much once you reach your target weight. It’s okay to relax a little, but you’ll maintain your weight more easily if you continue eating a healthy raw vegan diet. Weight management requires a life-long commitment, and while the raw vegan diet is an excellent way to lose weight quickly, it is also suitable (and recommended) for long-term use. After all, it’s one of the healthiest diets around.
Being overweight has a detrimental effect on your health and is one of the leading but avoidable causes of illness. Because of this, a lot of people are looking for the best diet for weight loss. The raw vegan diet is not just good for shedding pounds, it’s also one of the best diets for your health. Whether you want to lose weight or just avoid gaining weight as you get older, the raw vegan diet can help you do it.