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Can a vegan diet help you lose weight?


Vegan diets are entirely plant-based, which means they include no meat, eggs, or dairy products. Many animal-based foods are high in fat and calories so that eliminating them may help some people lose weight.

In this article, we look at the link between veganism and weight loss, including what foods to eat and if there are any risks. We also list some tips for people looking to lose weight with a vegan diet.

Are vegan diets good for weight loss?

Research has found that people who follow a vegan diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI). This could mean that a vegan diet helps with weight loss, or that a person who eats vegan is more likely to make other weight-conscious decisions.

However, a handful of studies have directly measured the effects of a vegan diet on weight loss, suggesting that a vegan diet may help a person to lose weight.

A 2016 study compared weight loss over 6 months among people who followed vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous diets. The results showed that people on a vegan diet lost more weight than other groups. They also decreased their consumption of saturated fats.

A 2016 review of studies examined 96 studies of vegan and vegetarian diets, and concluded that plant-based diets were more effective for weight loss compared to omnivorous diets.

Vegan and vegetarian participants also had other health improvements, including lower cholesterol and a lower risk of cancer.

A 2015Trusted Source study suggests that a vegetarian diet rich in vegetable fats may even boost metabolism. This means that vegetarians and vegans might burn more calories while at rest, making their weight loss efforts more effective.

As with all weight loss plans, one of the biggest concern is often whether or not a person will stick to it. Many people stop their diets after a few days or weeks, and some regain the weight they have lost because they go back to old eating habits once the diet is over.

It might seem difficult to plan out a vegan diet. However, a 2015 study found that people were no more likely to quit a vegan diet than they were to give up on other diets.

The study also found that vegans who did not fully adhere to their diet still lost more weight than omnivores who did not fully adhere to other weight loss diets.

Are vegan diets healthful?

Vegan diets eliminate many foods high in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat.

Many processed or pre-packaged foods contain animal products, so vegan diets help people to eat fresh, whole foods instead.

Research has documented a number of health benefits that have been associated with vegetarian and vegan diets, including:

lower rates of cancer

reduced risk of ischemic attack or a “mini-stroke“

reducedTrusted Source inflammation

lower cholesterol

lower blood glucose

lower risk of diabetes

decreased risk of cataracts

However, vegan diets may also present some health challenges. Animal products naturally contain vitamin B-12, so a person following a vegan diet will need to find other sources, such as:

fortified cereals

fortified plant milk, including soy, almond, and oat

nutritional yeast

some meat substitutes


Vegans may also become deficient in iron, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids if they do not consume enough foods with these nutrients.

Best vegan foods for weight loss

The following foods can prevent nutritional deficits while helping a person feel satisfied on a vegan diet:

Soy, quinoa, and tempeh, which are vegan sources of protein.

Soy and almond milks, which are rich in vitamin D.

Nuts and seeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.