Why are vegans/vegetarians overweight?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2012
Why are vegans/vegetarians overweight?
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 9:03am

I have considered trying to lean towards a vegetarian lifestyle for the sake of heart health but I have great concerns about weight. Everyone I have ever met who are vegan/vegetarian are overweight. Many say they are vegetarian for health reasons and weight control. I had lunch with co-workers last week and two were vegetarians. The first ordered a salad and proceded to completely douse it in ranch dressing and the second ordered a hamburger and fries and just discarded the meat from the bun. Both sat and munched on crackers while waiting for food and drinks. Maybe they were splurging, I'm not sure but neither woman is normal weight so obviously it occurs more than just occasionally. As we sat there, both talked about how they came to be vegetarians and I heard them discussing various recipes and restaurants with good vegetarian choices. I'm not seeing the health benefits of eating like this and considered maybe I have just met bad examples. What is it that I am missing?


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2012
Wed, 10-31-2012 - 3:59pm
I think you answered your own question, Owaitress. Too much processed food will do it for sure. But also, please consider that most people are overweight these days, not just vegetarians. In fact, vegetarians on average weigh less than meat eaters. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to live without meat, and since you pinpointed unhealthy things your friends were doing, I'd think you yourself would know how to skirt the obvious pitfalls. White flour, white sugar and white rice are just as bad for you whether you're eating meat or not, and don't get me started on commercial salad dressings.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 1:33pm
I used to assume vegetarians were always much healthier than meat eaters like myself until a friend of mine had to have a quadruple bypass. He'd been a vegetarian for several decades and didn't have a family history of such a thing, so what happened? While he declined meat, he didn't really make healthy eating choices. Most of his meals came from a vending machine or a fast food joint. He was a heavy smoker and wouldn't make the time to exercise and was very overweight. He knew the choices he made weren't good for him, but he refused to make any changes until after having major surgery.

Knowing him was a very eye opening experience for me, but since then I have met plenty of vegetarians who do vegetarianism well. They're fit, eat well balanced meals, and use supplements if they have a vitamin/mineral deficiency. If you are really looking toward vegetarianism for health reasons know that is possible. You just have to seek out health conscious vegetarians and I bet this board has plenty of them.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 11:12am

I think your two friends may not be the best examples of vegetarianism (no true vegetarian I know would have eaten a bun "cotaminated" with hamburger juices, for example!).  And, after all, there are morbidly obese carnivores out there too!

A lot has to do with eating a balanced diet  (which does mean you have to work at it, adn that isn't much fun, I admit).  If you watch what kinds of carbs and fats you cosume and make sure you get the right kinds of proteins, you should be fine...

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 9:30am

Not sure but I might be able to shed some light on this.. I am no expert but I happened to just see your post and speak from personal experience.. I am somewhat of a vegetarian which means I dont eat red meat or chicken or turkey but I do eat fish.

What I think the problem is the carbs.. I became a huge carb addict when I cut out red meat and all.. I gained 30lbs. over a few years because of the carbs.. I would eat more pasta and bread and things and gained the weight so it could be that. I also do not like red meat or chicken or turkey so its pretty challenging for me. I used to eat some soy but found out its not healthy either so right now only do pure silk soy in smoothies.. I am not a big cook so I dont like cooking soy either..

Last Jan. I decided to lose weight and try and eat better and cut out carbs and sugar and I started walking 2 miles a day.. I started to eat more whole grains and I started to read labels like crazy.. If the carb count was more than 40 per whatever I didnt eat. I found low carb and low sodium breads and grains and things..It wasnt as hard as I thought it was. Reading labels really helps.. I also dont eat fried anymore so french fries are def. out but I do eat boiled potaotes. It takes the starch out and the carbs out when boiled and I dont munch on bread that much anymore. Instead I use organic long stemmed veggies or romaine lettuce..way less carbs.

I have lost 30lbs.and alot of inches but the walking helps also..

So it is all doable but I watch the carbs like crazy and the sugar. If I want to eat more carbs I watch the portion control.. I know I cant have 50 fries with bread but I would do a few fries if I crave them and no bread.. Its all about choices and mixing and m atching. Its pretty challenging but doable..oh; and as far as condiments and all I have switched to salsa or hot sauce for toppings instead of fat laddened dressing. If I do dressing I only add a tablespoon and I dont eat butter anymore.. I use a teaspoon of peanut butter or I use fruit as an alternative.. Its just changing up lifestyle and trading this for that.

Good Luck