Dear Donovan, I am on a vegetables and water diet trying to lose weight but I was told that I can still gain weight if I don't watch my portions with vegetables. Is this true? How so? Can you advise of the best way to eat only vegetables and not have an ironic occurrence where I gain instead of lose weight from consuming healthy foods?
Increasing the amount of calories/food consumed without increasing your physical activity can lead to weight gain in the form of body fat. This generally applies to all foods. However, this is less likely to happen on a vegetables and water diet. Vegetables, when selected and prepared properly, are less likely than other foods to make you fat. This is because fibre and water are the main weight components of vegetables. The high fibre and water content of vegetables usually make them lower in calories than most other foods.
Eating vegetables usually helps you to lose weight rather than gain as long as you stick to the lower calorie vegetables and avoid preparing them with high calorie ingredients. For example, you should limit butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, high calorie dressing and canned sauces on your vegetables. It is also important that you avoid vegetable preparations such as veggie chips, vegetable smoothies, vegetable dips and large amounts of high calorie vegetable juices.
It should be noted that there are two main factors that will determine weight gain or weight loss. They are the calorie balance and your metabolic rate. The metabolic rate refers to the rate at which the body burns its calories. In general, taller, younger people with greater amounts of muscles burn more calories.
In terms of your calorie balance, it would be a function of your food/calorie intake as well as your activities. If your food intake becomes more and your activities become less or stay the same, you will gain weight. On the other hand, if the food/calorie intake becomes less and your activities become more or remain the same, there is the possibility of losing weight. Therefore, as long as you do not exceed the amount of calories that you were having before your vegetable and water diet, you can achieve weight loss.
That said, I would not suggest that you stay on this diet long-term since vegetables can be low in protein, fat, B vitamins, etc. There is always the chance of not having a balanced diet. On the other hand, most people do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables on a daily basis. Women should at least try to have two to two and a half cups of vegetables per day while men should have two and a half to three cups of vegetables per day. Eating raw vegetables is better than cooked.
I would suggest that you do your weight loss programme healthily; involving both exercise and diet. Your diet could include fruits, vegetables, vegetable juices and whole grain healthy proteins. Good luck!
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