Whether you're trying to reduce your cancer risk, slash your carbon footprint, or you just want to take a stand as an animal lover, there are tons of benefits associated with going vegetarian. And one of those benefits could be weight loss. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who ate about 250 grams of meat a day—roughly the size of one half-pound steak, piece of poultry, or processed meat—packed on more pounds over the course of five years compared to other study participants who ate less animal protein. And this was true even when they had the same amount of calories overall. But slimming down as the result of going plant-based is definitely not guaranteed. In fact, certain missteps could lead to weight gain.
Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a board-certified gastroenterologist with @HappyGutMD, notes that vegetarians often sabotage their weight-loss efforts by eating more processed foods when they cut out animal protein. "When it comes to avoiding weight gain on a vegetarian diet, it's important to make sure that the majority of your calories are coming from high quality, fresh whole foods," he says.
If you're trying to steer clear of eating meat without skewing the scale, here are the specific, weight-loss saboteurs you'll want to tackle head-on. (Then, find out how you can hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy—with The Body Clock Diet!)