You’re not guaranteed to lose weight, but it is highly likely that you will. Eighty-seven per cent of those who took part in Veganuary 2017 reported that they did lose weight during that month, and a study from Loma Linda University in California found that vegetarians had a lower BMI (body mass index) than meat eaters, and for vegans it was lower still. This was the case even though the amount of calories ingested was much the same for each group. Other studies have published similar results.
But like everyone, vegans come in all shapes and sizes and some of us are naturally bigger than others. We have different habits, tastes and preferences. Some vegans care very much about health. They’ll cook fresh foods from scratch every day, won’t consume sweet things except, perhaps, on special occasions and take regular cardiovascular exercise. Others are happy to eat burgers, chips and beans, followed by a bag of doughnuts and would exercise only if forced to do so. We make no judgement at all but in this scenario one is obviously more likely to be slimmer than the other. Most of us fall somewhere in between these two, and have to make choices about what and how much we eat from the growing range of delicious vegan convenience foods. Even so, vegans are generally slimmer than those who eat meat and dairy.
Of course, our food choices are about more than how we look. Our bodies thank us in lots of ways for being vegan. Ninety-seven per cent of those who took part in Veganuary 2017 and answered the question reported that they felt their health was better as a result of being vegan for the month. Eighty-seven per cent reported they had more energy. Some participants told us that their hair and nails were stronger and healthier; others that long-term digestive problems had cleared up.
By being vegan they had all reduced their risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Their bodies may have been slimmer, which in a world of rising obesity is a great thing, but they were also healthier and felt a whole lot better.