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Weight Loss And Plant-Based Diets

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Managing and sustaining a healthy body weight can be challenging. There’s a reason why the diet industry has been estimated to be worth over 200 billion dollars in 2019. With the ever increasing rates of overweight and obesity, now affecting almost 2/3 of North Americans, it’s estimated that the diet industry will grow to over 300 billion dollars by 2027. If meds really cured disease, then you wouldn’t require refills, and the same goes for diets. By definition, diets are temporary and are rarely compatible with long term and sustainable lifestyle change. Long term benefits require long term lifestyle change. How does the plant-based diet fit in our obesogenic environment?

Recently, I received a message from a curious reader who was hesitant to include oatmeal in her routine due to its caloric content and density. Remember that populations who regularly consume whole grains are among the longest living populations on Earth, with the lowest rates of chronic diseases. After reading her message, I was a little confused, since plants have much lower caloric density than most processed foods and animal products. I then realized that if she had this concern, she probably wasn't the only one. When talking about weight loss, there are many concepts to cover, and so I’ll try to simplify them and make them as clear and concise as possible. Among the concepts that will require some clearing up, we have:

  • the obesogenic environment

  • the weight loss laws of thermodynamics

  • calorie density

  • a calorie isn’t always a calorie

  • the microbiome and weight management

  • properly reading nutritional labels

Also, "plant-based diet" is an umbrella term. It includes plant-forward diets like the Mediterranean diet, the Portfolio diet, the DASH diet as well as flexitarianism, vegetarianism and veganism. If your first gut instinct is "I could never go full plant-based" then you don't have to. Any step in the right direction and towards more plants on your plate will get you closer to better health.

Our Obesogenic Environment

This one is easy to summarize. Our biol