A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Vegetarian diet: Will it help me lose weight?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetarian-diet/AN01580
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
Weight-loss basics (8)
- Metabolism and weight
- Weight-loss hypnosis: Does it work?
- How is brown fat different from other fat?
- see all in Weight-loss basics
Diet plans (8)
- Vegetarian diet: Will it help me lose weight?
- Flat Belly Diet: Can it help you lose weight?
- HCG diet: Is it safe and effective?
- see all in Diet plans
Mayo Clinic diet (1)
- Weight loss: Better to cut calories or exercise more?
Diet and exercise (4)
- Can I use yoga for weight loss?
- Walking: Is it enough for weight loss?
- Negative-calorie foods: Diet gimmick or weight-loss aid?
- see all in Diet and exercise
Diet pills, supplements and surgery (14)
- Lipovarin: An effective weight-loss supplement?
- Ear stapling for weight loss: Does it work?
- Coconut oil and weight loss: Does it work?
- see all in Diet pills, supplements and surgery
Vegetarian diet: Will it help me lose weight?
If I switch to a vegetarian diet, will I lose weight?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Not necessarily. A vegetarian diet is not inherently a weight-loss diet but rather a lifestyle choice.
It is true, however, that adults and children who follow a vegetarian diet are generally leaner than nonvegetarians. This may be because a vegetarian diet typically includes less saturated fat and emphasizes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins — foods that are more filling and less calorie dense.
But a vegetarian diet isn't automatically low calorie. You can gain weight on a vegetarian diet if your portion sizes are too big or if you eat too many high-calorie foods, such as sweetened beverages, fried items, snack foods and desserts. Even some foods marketed as vegetarian can be high in calories and fat, such as soy hot dogs, soy cheese, refried beans and snack bars.
The basics of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are the same for vegetarians and nonvegetarians: Eat a healthy diet and balance calories eaten with calories burned.Next question
Flat Belly Diet: Can it help you lose weight?
- Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109:1266.
- Duyff RL. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2012:28.
- Whitney E, et al. Understanding Nutrition. 12th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson Higher Education; 2011.
- Sabate J, et al. Vegetarian diets and childhood obesity prevention. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;91(suppl):1525S.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 5, 2012.