Are there any special concerns for people who are restricting energy intake in order to lose weight while following a strict vegan diet? The American Dietetic Association says that...

Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes

But I've heard from many people (both dietitians and vegans on YouTube) that maintaining sufficient energy intake is an important component of a well-planned diet. In particular, it's common to hear that we'll get enough protein as long as we're eating enough food. So what about when we are not eating enough food, as is practiced when weight loss is a goal? Does protein become a nutrient of concern? Are there other nutrients that become concerns when restricting energy intake?

Would there be different concerns for somebody who is trying to lose weight after being vegan for 5 years as compared to somebody who very recently adopted a vegan diet with the intention of losing weight immediately?

The CDC suggests that losing 1-2 pounds per week is considered "gradual", and losing 1 pound per week would require an energy deficient of 3500 kcal/week or 500 kcal/day. For the purposes of this question, consider energy restriction to mean an energy deficit of 500 kcal/day.


1 Answer 1


How to safely lose weight as a vegan? To cut out calories without cutting out an excessive amount of essential nutrients, mainly iron, calcium, zinc, essential fatty acids and proteins (WebMD).

You can decrease the consumption of foods with "empty calories," which contain many calories but only few essential nutrients:

Next, you can limit certain energy-dense, but "bland," foods that may also do not contain a lot of essential nutrients:

I see no need for different weight loss tactics between fresh and experienced vegans.

Even as a vegan, you'll probably feel that some foods might not be good for you (for your digestion, general well-being...). So, think of removing those first. There may be no need to be cruel and reduce your favorite foods.

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