Auditioning for bands isn’t as hard as you think. Sure, being able to play your instrument helps, but there’s a knack beyond that. The secret is to do your homework. Knowing the bands’ songs isn’t enough, you have to know their influences, what they grew up listening to, what books they read, what films they’re into… As long as you play well, it’s simply a matter of dropping that stuff into the conversation, and bam, you’re in; you’re one of the gang. This isn’t just a music thing, in the diet and exercise world, to be one of the cool kids online, you need to be one of the gang; you need to be vegan.
Veganism is one of the fastest growing lifestyle choices, and to join in, dropping a few lines about how amazing you feel and how much weight you’ve lost by shunning animal products, will result in you being part of the new gang pretty quick. It’s claimed being vegan is the answer to losing weight while avoiding a whole host of diseases, and it might seem like being vegan is the best thing for your looks and health. Like most things, however, it’s not so simple. Despite what people believe or write on the internet, becoming vegan didn’t help you lose weight.
As fitness trends go, becoming vegan is hot right now, and like any other dietary fad, the hoopla around it suggests it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Once reserved for guys with matted hair and tie-dye t-shirts, these days, all kinds of people are flocking to Greggs for a vegan sausage roll. The hype surrounding being vegan doesn’t seem to be without merit. Most studies banded around on the internet make becoming vegan sound like a no-brainer.
- Being vegetarian is associated with less chance of dying from heart disease
- Shunning animal products is also linked with overall less chance of getting cancer
- Vegans have the lowest BMIs when compared to meat eaters and dairy eating vegetarians
So, it’s a win-win for veganism right? Well, not quite. The problem with this research, that you won’t hear about on social media, is that it doesn’t really prove anything.
If you take a whole group of people and separate them into vegan, and none-vegan groups, as happens in research of this kind, you’ll mostly find that the vegans will be less overweight, and generally healthier. Before we all head out for a plate of smashed avocado and sadness, however, we need to think a little bit more about the other behaviours of the people in these groups first.
People who are becoming vegan, for non-ethical reasons, are not just interested in leaving out animal products. Compared to a great number of non-vegans who drink, smoke, live sedentary lives, and have questionable diets, new vegans are like an advert for wellness. In short, they are health seeking; and it’s this that makes them lighter, fitter, and less likely to drop dead than other people. While they might think their health is all down to a rigid diet, it’s really a combination of a tonne of different factors.
People becoming vegan are often on a health kick, like the post new year “detoxing” nature of veganuary. Think of this as an example.
- Someone becomes vegan
- They decide to also cut back on the booze
- Most of the junk food they once had is now out of reach
- They also join a gym
- They start hanging around with other, health conscious, vegans that train in their gym
- They become interested in how much sleep they get every night, their cholesterol levels or fasting blood glucose, and how strong they are compared to other people
Health seeking people don’t just make one lifestyle choice, they make tonnes. If that’s the case, what happens if we compare vegans to meat eaters who make similar lifestyle choices?
- A study by Keys recruited people by standing outside of health food shops, or by putting adverts in healthy lifestyle magazines
- The study included meat eaters as well as vegetarians and set out to find if there was a difference between each groups weight or how likely they were to get specific diseases
- Because both groups of people had similar lifestyles and health-seeking behaviours, there was no difference in their preponderance for health risks or being overweight
Here’s my point. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be vegan, only that you shouldn’t be married to it as a weight loss tool.
When people become vegan, they lose weight because they consume fewer calories, not because the diet is magic. It’s the same thing with keto, or paleo, or whatever. If the diet makes consuming junk food, or excess calories in general, harder than before, it will result in weight loss.
I’m all about choice. When I work with a client I tailor their diet to them. I don’t prescribe certain foods or macros, or enforce any dietary dogma. Weight loss is about the balance of calories in versus calories out, so if not eating meat helps you do that then that’s great; just don’t believe the hype. It’s not better than any other method, nor does it confer any special health benefits.
Becoming vegan didn’t make you lose weight, cutting out junk and exercising more did.
Want a way to fit pizza and dessert into your diet each week while still losing fat? Download the Ultimate Flexible Fasting System to lose fat easier than ever before.