How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight on a Vegan Diet?

How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight on a Vegan Diet?


Lorraine Pinnix
March 19, 2022

Weight management is one of the biggest issues we face, and with an estimated two-thirds of the US adult population being overweight or obese, it’s a common one.

Making a change to your diet is the best way to get results, and numerous studies have shown that a vegan diet can be especially beneficial.

How long does it take to lose weight on a vegan diet? Sticking to a plant-based diet that’s full of whole foods and with a nutritionally balanced eating plan should lead to weight loss results within a few weeks.

For consistent and healthy weight loss, you’ll need to monitor how much energy you’re consuming and burning off as well.

The vegan diet can be thanked for helping many people lose weight, but simply cutting out animal products doesn’t mean you’re going to start dropping pounds.

This guide will show you how to do it right and the plant-based foods you should avoid and focus on if your goal is weight management.

Do You Really Need to Lose Weight?

Do You Really Need to Lose Weight?

Although we’ve been trained to think that there’s an ideal shape and size we should be reaching for, not everyone has to lose weight to be healthy.

These are some of the common signs that you may need to shift a few pounds, and where a vegan diet might be able to help.

  • High blood pressure: The risks of having high blood pressure relate directly to cardiovascular health, and being overweight is one of the main causes.
  • High cholesterol: Cholesterol readings that show high levels can indicate the need for a change in your weight, and many people find that even just losing 10% of their body weight is enough to bring them down to a healthy level.
  • Joint pain: Carrying around excess weight can put a lot of pressure on your joints, as well as the organs in your body. If you’re feeling like it’s a struggle to move and know that excess weight is the reason, losing just a few pounds can help.
  • Overweight or obese BMI: Although the BMI calculator might not be accurate for all body types, it’s a fairly reliable way to tell whether you’re overweight or obese. This method looks at your height, weight, and age to see what’s an acceptable weight range to be in and it can help you figure out where you sit.
  • You’re unhappy: Only you will know when you’re not happy with your body as it currently is, and if you feel like it’s time for a change so you can be healthier, weight loss might be the way to go.
  • Doctor’s recommendation: If your doctor or another health professional has recommended losing some weight for better health, it’s important to take their advice seriously.

How a Vegan Diet Can Help With Weight Loss

How a Vegan Diet Can Help With Weight Loss

Numerous studies have shown just how effective a vegan diet is for weight loss, and according to one published on Healthline, those who follow a vegan diet usually have a lower BMI than those who don’t.

The main benefit that people enjoy from going vegan is switching to a lot more plant-based foods, so the usual hamburgers, ice creams, milkshakes, candy, deep-fried chicken, and creamy sauces are no longer an option.

Another bonus of going vegan is being more mindful about what you’re eating, and most people find that this helps them to cook for themselves more.

When you’re preparing your meals, you can think about every ingredient that goes into them, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be using more fresh fruits and vegetables, along with other whole foods.

It’s important to note though, that simply switching to a plant-based diet does not mean you’ll lose weight.

You still need to monitor your calorie intake and exercise regularly, to ensure that you’re not filling up on unhealthy foods or not burning off enough energy for what you’re eating.

The Best Vegan-Friendly Foods for Weight Loss

The Best Vegan-Friendly Foods for Weight Loss

A vegan diet is rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetables, and plant-based alternatives, so there’s no shortage of goodness to choose from.

If your goal is to shed some pounds the healthy way, these are the vegan foods you’ll want to focus on.

  • Nuts and seeds: You can throw nuts and seeds into salads, baking, and snack plates, and enjoy a huge boost of filling protein and healthy fats. Some nuts have a higher calorie content than others though, so be mindful of how many you’re eating a day and what kind.
  • Fruits and vegetables: The most obvious choice for a vegan diet is fruits and vegetables, so make a point of adding them into meals and snacks wherever possible. You can put frozen fruits in a smoothie, snack on a banana, chop up carrot and cucumber sticks for a snack, or just enjoy a huge salad on the salad.
  • Plant milk: Almond milk and soy milk are considered some of the better options for vegans trying to lose weight. Switch up the dairy in your morning coffee, cereal, cooking, and smoothies with something lighter and plant-based to get a much lower dose of calories, and added protein and vitamin D.
  • Soy, tofu, and tempeh: These are key when going vegan as they feature large amounts of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Opt for less processed versions of these ingredients to reap the healthy rewards.
  • Whole grains: There are other whole grains you should be incorporating into your daily eating schedule as a vegan trying to lose weight, including oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa. Try to add a serving to your main meals to be satisfied without the downsides of refined and processed wheat.

Vegan Foods to Avoid

Vegan Foods to Avoid

The biggest misconception about vegan foods is that they’re all healthy, and many people are surprised to find just how many plant-based products are actually bad for you.

If weight loss is your goal, these are the foods you’ll want to avoid until you’re at a point where you can manage your weight and enjoy them in moderation.

  • Processed foods: An easy way to see how processed your vegan foods are is to look at the ingredient list. If there’s a whole lot of stuff that you can’t understand or the ingredients aren’t whole, you can probably skip it. This includes fake meat, fried foods, frozen instant meals, and vegan junk food.
  • Pasta and bread: There’s nothing wrong with having some pasta each day, as long as it’s in moderate amounts. However, many vegans tend to fill up on these carbohydrate-heavy foods because they’re struggling to find alternatives. If you do eat them, opt for whole-grain products instead.
  • Nondairy ice cream: Ice cream is not usually on the list of accepted foods when you’re losing weight, and this goes for the vegan alternative as well. Even some forms of plant-based yogurts can be loaded with fat and sugar, so don’t assume they’re all healthy.
  • Cookies: While there are some vegan cookies better than others, many of them fall into the vegan junk food category. They’re loaded with sugar and nothing nutritious, so skip them when you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Instant sauces: Buying jars of sauce and loading them onto pasta and rice might be easy but it’s usually not good for you. these instant meals are loaded with sodium and preservatives, plus other ingredients that are usually unhealthy. Make your sauce from scratch and feel good about what you’re eating.

When Will You See Results?

When Will You See Results?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when embarking on a weight loss journey is trying to do too much too soon. The best way to guarantee lifelong results and a healthier outlook is with gradual, slow, and consistent weight loss.

Having realistic weight loss goals will make it easier to stay motivated as well, otherwise, you can become irritated when you don’t lose it all right away.

As you’re likely new to the vegan lifestyle as well, you must be patient with yourself as you figure it all about, because there’s a lot to learn with this way of life.

According to Mayo Clinic, healthy weight loss means between one to two pounds per week, and at the start, it may be easier to do keep up with these types of losses.

You’ll need to adjust your weight loss goals and calorie intake to match your new weight, so it’s an ongoing process that requires some dedication and consistency.

Factors like age, environment, and medical conditions can also impact your weight loss rate, so it depends on the individual.

How Exercise Helps With Weight Loss

How Exercise Helps With Weight Loss

Exercise goes hand in hand with a healthy diet when you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s something that people of all shapes and sizes should do each day to stay healthy.

The good news is, there are lots of different ways to can stay active so it doesn’t have to feel like a chore just to get your 30 minutes a day in.

If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll need to do enough physical activity in a day to create a calorie deficit from the foods that you’ve eaten. This means you’re burning more energy than you’re eating, so that excess energy will translate into weight loss.

Determining your basal metabolic rate is a good first step to figuring out how much you burn naturally and what more you need to do to create this deficit.

In addition to losing and maintaining weight, there are lots of other benefits of regular exercise, so you should make it part of your everyday life.

You’ll reduce arthritis and joint pain, reduce your risk of developing heart attack, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, plus enjoy better mental health. When you combine that with a balanced vegan diet, you’ll feel noticeably better and live a longer, healthier life.

Go Vegan For a Healthier Life

There are loads of benefits to be enjoyed when you embrace the vegan life and weight management is just one of them.

As long as you’re following a nutritionally balanced diet and aiming to lose weight gradually with plant-based foods, you’ll see great results from this way of eating.

Related Questions

Weight loss can be a tricky thing to manage, even if you’re a practicing vegan. Learning all you can about how to eat healthily on a plant-based diet is the best place to start though, so check out these FAQs that can give you a little more insight.

Which Nuts Are the Highest in Calories?

Walnuts are the nuts with the highest calorie count, averaging around 26 calories per walnut, so have to be cautious not to eat too many in a sitting.

However, they are loaded with healthy fats that are good for you, so adding some into your diet can still deliver benefits.

Is Plant Milk Healthier?

Is Plant Milk Healthier?

Most plant kinds of milk are healthier than the dairy alternative, including having fewer calories and less fat per serving, with coconut milk being the exception.

Most of the plant milk options will have less protein than cow’s milk though, you need to ensure you’re getting this from other sources.

Is Vegan Cheese Good For You?

As long as you’re not choosing a highly processed version, non-dairy cheese has benefits like fewer calories and less fat, but it’s also lower in protein and calcium.

Just like regular cheese, you should enjoy the vegan options in moderation, and not make it a regular part of your eating plan.


Lorraine Pinnix

Lorraine Pinnix is a passionate nutritionist and loves seeing people living healthy, and fulfilled lives. She believes that food is an essential piece of staying fit and strongly believes in going vegan. PureGrowthOrganic is a passionate work that details her research in helping you go on complete organic diets. She is available for questions, comments, and follow-ups.