A plant-based diet is a diet of any animal (including humans) based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products. The use of the phrase has changed over time, and examples can be found of the phrase “plant-based diet” being used to refer to vegan diets, which contain no food from animal sources, to vegetarian diets which include eggs and dairy but no meat, and to diets with varying amounts of animal-based foods, such as semi-vegetarian diets which contain small amounts of meat. Plant-based diets have been noted to offer certain health benefits to humans, whether they are entirely plant-based and free of animal-based foods, or contain limited amounts of them.
It has been proposed that many people live on a plant-based diet out of economic necessity. As of 1999 it was estimated that “an estimated 4 billion people live primarily on a plant-based diet”, and that “shortage of cropland, freshwater, and energy resources requires that most of the 4 billion people live primarily on a plant-based diet”.
Historically, examples can be found of the phrase “plant-based diet” being used to refer to diets with varying amounts of animal-based foods, from none at all (vegan) to small amounts of any kind of meat, so long as the primary focus is on plant-based foods (semi-vegetarian). The 2005 book, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician, tended to equate a plant-based diet with veganism, although at points the book describes people having a “mostly” plant-based diet. Vegan wellness writer Ellen Jaffe Jones stated in a 2011 interview:
I taught cooking classes for the national non-profit, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and during that time, the phrase “plant-based diet” came to be used as a euphemism for vegan eating, or “the ‘v’ word.” It was developed to take the emphasis off the word vegan, because some associated it with being too extreme a position, sometimes based exclusively in animal rights versus a health rationale.
More recently a number of authoritative resources have used the phrase “plant-based diet” to refer to diets including varying degrees of animal products, defining “plant-based diets” as, for example “diets that include generous amounts of plant foods and limited amounts of animal foods”, and as diets “rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods and limiting red meat consumption, if red meat is eaten at all”.
In various sources, “plant-based diet” has been used to refer to:
- Veganism: diet of vegetables, legumes, fruit, grains, nuts, and seeds, but no food from animal sources.
- Fruitarianism: vegan diet consisting primarily of fruit.
- Raw veganism: vegan diet in which food is uncooked and sometimes dehydrated.
- Vegetarianism: diet of vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, etc, that may include eggs and dairy, but no meat.
- Ovo-lacto vegetarianism: includes dairy and eggs
- Ovo vegetarianism: includes eggs but no dairy
- Lacto vegetarianism: includes dairy but no eggs
- Semi-vegetarianism: mostly vegetarian diet with occasional inclusion of meat and/or poultry.
- Macrobiotic diet: semi-vegetarian diet that highlights whole grains, vegetables, beans, miso soup, sea vegetables, and traditionally or naturally processed foods, with or without seafood and other animal products.
- Pescatarian: semi-vegetarian diet with eggs, dairy and seafood.
Best Plant-Based Diets
Plant-based diets are good for the environment, your heart, your weight and your overall health. U.S. News defines plant-based as an approach that emphasizes minimally processed foods from plants, with modest amounts of fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy, and red meat only sparingly. The experts who rated the 11 diets below put the Mediterranean diet at the top of the list. Among the qualities considered were each diet’s ability to deliver weight loss, provide good nutrition and safety, and be relatively easy to follow.
The Mediterranean diet is the top plant-based diet, earning relatively high marks in all areas of assessment. Experts declared it safe and nutritious, and though it wasn’t designed for losing weight, it works fairly well as a plan for quick weight loss. “This is a very healthy, nutritionally sound diet,” one expert said.
The Flexitarian diet did almost as well. It garnered particularly good ratings from experts for nutrition, safety and heart-health. It’s also easy to follow because it emphasizes adding plant-based foods where you can, rather than imposing strict restrictions. “It’s a sensible eating plan,” one expert said. “It’s a realistic approach to achieving a healthier style of eating.”
Experts were impressed that the diet is nutritionally sound, safe and tremendously heart-healthy. The Ornish diet involves lots of complex, fiber-loaded carbs (think fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains) and little fat, especially the saturated kind.
Traditional Asian Diet
The Asian diet ranked well against other plant-based diets. Experts were particularly impressed with its nutrition and safety, though they were apprehensive about its ability to deliver long-term weight loss. Still, “the nutritional balance is better than most other plant-based or vegan diets,” one expert said.
The vegetarian diet pulled in strong scores in areas such as short-term weight loss, heart health and nutritional completeness. It’s also relatively good for managing or preventing diabetes, thanks to an emphasis on fruits, veggies, grains and plant-based protein sources such as tofu.
The Anti-Inflammatory diet stands in the middle of its plant-based counterparts. Experts handed out lackluster 2-star ratings in categories such as overall weight loss and easiness to follow. “It makes eating very technical,” one expert warned.
Engine 2 Diet
Experts sent the Engine 2 Diet toward the bottom of the plant-based list. “The diet is too extreme,” one expert warned. “It’s difficult to maintain for any length of time.” Experts also questioned the plan’s elimination of vegetable oils, and said more research is necessary to determine whether that’s a beneficial move.
The experts were lukewarm on veganism, despite giving it fairly high marks as a diabetes or heart disease diet. It’s more restrictive than other plant-based options, offers no built-in social support, and may skimp on important nutrients.
Eco-Atkins wasn’t a standout on the plant-based list. It’s restrictive and offers little guidance. Still, it emphasizes filling, high-fiber foods: Following the plan means eliminating all animal products and focusing on beans, nuts, high-protein veggies and grains such as couscous and pearl barley.
As far as plant-based diets go, you can do better, the experts concluded. Following the plan is a challenge and it’s very strict. Still, you won’t go hungry – the filling menu emphasizes veggies, beans and soybean products such as tofu and tempeh.
Health benefits of eating a Plant-based diet
The basis of this guide is health, and many people switch to eating plants because they want to lose weight, improve their heart health, stay healthy as they age, improve blood pressure or deal with diabetes. A plant-based diet has been shown to help with all of these things — if you also stay away from the processed foods. A diet of processed flour and sugar and fried foods isn’t healthy even if it’s all plants (more on this below). The healthiest populations in the world are plant based: the Okinawans (traditionally at almost all plants such as sweet potatoes, soybeans, lots of veggies, with a little fish and occasional pork), the Sardinians (beans & veggies, red wine, some cheese, meat only once a week), and the vegan Seventh-Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California who are the longest-living Americans. Eating plants is the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of the leading causes of death.
Honestly, while this is very important reason, it’s probably the least important of the three reasons on this list.. But it’s huge: the biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop eating animal products — better than giving up a car (next best) or using less energy in your home or traveling by plane less or recycling or using solar energy or driving an electric car or buying fewer things.
The animals we raise for food production use a ton of resources, eat way more plants than we do (which in turn also require resources to be grown), give off huge amounts of planet-warming methane, breathe out a lot of carbon dioxide, and create a lot of pollution. This 2006 United Nations report concludes that “Livestock have a substantial impact on the world’s water, land and biodiversity resources and contribute significantly to climate change. Animal agriculture produces 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalents), compared with 13.5 percent from all forms of transportation combined.” And it takes 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to make the beef for one hamburger, according to a recent report from the U.S. geological survey.
This is the one of the most important reason to move away from eating animals. I’ve talked a lot about compassion on this site, but by far the most cruel thing any of us does each day is consume animals (and their products). The cruelty that is perpetuated on these living, feeling, suffering beings on our behalf is enormous and undeniable. If you don’t believe me, watch this video with Sir Paul McCartney or this video about pigs. While I became vegan for health reasons, I stick with it for reasons of compassion — wanting to reduce the suffering of other sentient beings.
But … if you don’t do it to avoid pollution, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, increased death rates, animal cruelty, global warming, deforestation, and higher costs … maybe weight loss would do it. Vegetarians and vegans weigh less on average than meat eaters. That’s even after adjusting for things like fibre, alcohol, smoking … and calorie intake! Half of Americans are obese, but vegans tend to be much less obese (with exceptions of course).
That said, just going vegan will not necessarily cause you to lose weight. You could easily eat a lot of sugar, white flour, fake meats and fried foods and gain weight. If you eat whole plant foods, you’re likely to lose weight. Plant foods, for starters, have pretty much no saturated fat, low calories and tons of fiber, while animal foods all have saturated fat, lots of calories and zero fiber.
A few categories of foods to include regularly:
Beans and other protein. This means the regular kinds of beans, like lentils, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, etc. But it can also mean soybeans (edamame), tofu, tempeh, and seitan (protein from wheat, not good for gluten-intolerant people). It can also mean soymilk, soy yogurt, and the like, which are often fortified. Get organic, non-GMO soy.
Nuts and seeds. My favorites include raw almonds and walnuts, along with ground flaxseeds and chia seeds, and hemp seed protein powder. Almond milk is also good. And quinoa — it’s like a grain, but really a seed, and full of nutrition.
Good fats. Fats aren’t bad for you — you should just look to avoid saturated fats. Luckily, not many plant foods have saturated fats. Plants with good fats include avocados, nuts and seeds mentioned above, olive oil and canola oil.
Greens. This is one of the most important and nutritious group of all. Dark, leafy green veggies are awesome, and full of calcium, iron and a ton of vitamins. My favorites: kale, spinach, broccoli, collards. Eat lots of them daily! They also have very few calories, meaning they pack a ton of nutrition in a small caloric package.
Other fruits and veggies. Get a variety — I love berries of all kinds, figs, apples, citrus fruits, peaches, mangoes, bananas, pears, bell peppers, garlic, beets, celery, cauliflower Good starches. Starches are not bad for you — but ones that have little calories aren’t great. So find starches that give you lots of nutrition. Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, squash, brown rice, sprouted whole wheat, steel-cut oats, among others.
Some other healthy stuff. Red wine, green tea, cinnamon, turmeric, spiulina and nutritional yeast.
Examples of categories of foods to be included in plant-based diet
Tofu scramble w/ veggies: some organic high-protein tofu crumbled and stir-fried with olive oil, garlic, diced carrots and tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms, and spiced with tamari, turmeric, sea salt and coarse black pepper.
Steel-cut oats: cook some steel-cut oats, then add ground flaxseeds, raw nuts, berries, cinnamon.
Stir-fry: You can make an endless combo of meals by cooking some garlic in olive oil, then cooking some veggies (carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.) and some protein (tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.) and some greens (kale, broccoli, spinach, etc.) and some spices (turmeric or coconut milk or tamari & sesame oil, black pepper, salt).
Veggie chili over quinoa: Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans with olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, diced kale, diced carrots, tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, pepper. Maybe some beer for flavor. Serve over quinoa or brown rice.
One-pot meal: Quinoa, lentils, greens, olive oil, tempeh (or a bunch of other variations). Read Tynan’s post on cooking this all in one pot.
Whole-wheat pasta: Serve with a sauce — some tomato sauce with olive oil, garlic, onions, bell peppers, diced kale and carrots, diced tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano.
Big-ass Salad: Start with a bed of kale & spinach, throw on other veggies such as carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, snow peas, green beans, tomatoes … then some beans, nuts and/or seeds … top with avocado. Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or red wine vinegar and olive oil, sprinkle on the salad. Yum.
Smoothies: Blend some almond or soy milk with frozen berries, greens, ground chia or flaxseeds, hemp or spirulina protein powder. Lots of nutrition in one drink!
Snacks: Snack on fruits and berries, raw almonds or walnuts, carrots with hummus.
Drinks: Drink water all day, some coffee (without sugar) in the morning, tea in the afternoon, and red wine in the evening.
People who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet lose more weight than those who eat meat, according to a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Researchers reviewed 12 studies with more than 1,150 people who followed different weight loss plans for about 18 weeks. What they found: Those who followed a plant-based diet shed roughly four pounds more on average than those whose meals allowed meat.
Vegetarian diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are high in fiber and take longer to digest, which may keep you feeling fuller longer, says study author Ru-Yi Huang, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health. Plus, people who eat meat-heavy diets tend to experience more gas and bloating and that discomfort could derail their success, Huang explains.
Researchers also found that people who gave up meat to lose weight were more likely to still be following their healthy eating plan one year later than those who consumed animal products.
Going vegetarian also means you don’t have to count every calorie, as meat-free dieters who did count lost a similar amount of weight of those who skipped the math. The reason: Pound for pound, veggies contain significantly fewer calories—a pound of boneless beef, for instance, packs nearly five times as many calories as one pound of raw carrots.
Munching on all those plants may cut your risk for colorectal cancer — the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. — by about 20 percent.
For the study, published in the March 9 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers kept track of 77,000 men and women over the course of seven years.
Roughly half the participants were meat-eaters, and the others fell into four vegetarian-like groups: Semi-vegetarians (ate meat less than once a week), pesco-vegetarians (ate fish but not other meat), lacto-ovo vegetarians (ate eggs and dairy but no meat) and vegans (no meat, no dairy, no eggs).
Researchers found that after seven years, there were 380 colon cancer cases and 110 rectal cancer cases among the group. As it turns out, vegetarians were less likely to develop the disease compared to participants who ate meat, but pesco-vegetarians, in particular, were the real winners.
“All vegetarians together had on average a 22 percent reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer, compared with non-vegetarians,” lead researcher Dr. Michael Orlich said, according to CBS. Those who ate fish, on the other hand, saw a 43 percent reduction rate.
However, it should be noted there’s still no concrete evidence that this reduction in colorectal cancer is due to diet.
“That’s the problem in dietary studies of cancer. We don’t know exactly what the connection is,” Dr. Alfred Neugut, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center said, according to CBS.
CNN points out that participants in the study sample are Seventh Day Adventists, “a group that typically avoids alcohol and tobacco.”
Colorectal cancer risk aside, there are plenty of other reasons to stick to a plant-based diet. Not only do vegetarians have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, but they can maintain a healthy weight more easily.
“Let face it. If you are eating a lot of plant foods, many of which have only 10 to 50 calories per cup, you are going to lose weight,” Carole Bartolotto, RD, wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post. “If you eat these foods instead of fast, fatty, processed, and sweet foods, you will cut out a ton of calories — and the best part is, you will feel full!”
The Research “Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials” done by Ru-Yi Huang, Chuan-Chin Huang, Frank B. Hu, Jorge E. Chavarro concluded: “Twelve randomized controlled trials were included, involving a total of 1151 subjects who received the intervention over a median duration of 18 weeks. Overall, individuals assigned to the vegetarian diet groups lost significantly more weight than those assigned to the non-vegetarian diet groups”.
Marzia Prince is world hottest professional bikini competitor and winner of Ms. bikini universe revealed her diet secret to Namita Nayyar President Women Fitness about herself on Plant based diet and she said ” I have been living a plant-based diet for the past 5 ½ years. I eat 70-80% raw. I eat about 5-6 times a day. I don’t count calories. I try to eat real organic plant-based foods as medicine to heal my cells in my body. I eat plant-based proteins and carbs for my all my meals. I just watch my healthy fat intake. Everything is trial and error till you get it right for you. I don’t believe in a one size fits all nutrition program. But I do believe in a plant-based life for everyone”.
“Now in my 40’s, I have to eat as real as I can for optimal health. I love how I feel eating this way. So much energy and life in me! I am not trying to look younger for my age; I am just trying to be healthy for my age. Now I can look at someone physically and see if they look unhealthy or toxic. I just want to help them. I can also look at people who take care of themselves; they have a glow and energy about them. I love recommending a plant-based lifestyle to my clients and watch them transform from lifeless to energetic”.
For Marzia Prince complete conversation with Namita Nayyar President Women Fitness check her out at: http://www.womenfitness.net/marzia-prince.htm
This is a confirmation of having a stunning physique with the help of Plant Based Diet. Hence we conclude that apart from one going on the plant based diet it does helps in weight loss, it also has multiple other benefits.