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Dumb Question

Dumb question:  Since becoming vegan tends to cause weight loss, why doesn't the pro-vegan portion of our population concentrate their efforts on the people like those in the following documentary?  It is a potential multi-billion dollar market, for you business  types out there, if you can do such in a nutritionally sound and complete manner (please see my posts regarding lysine and other nutrients missing from most vegan diets).

I know I lost 1/3 of my body weight within three months each time I went vegan (probably because vegan diets tend to be so low in fat).  If this was to be applied to people like those in the documentary, we might save American from collapsing under its own weight, so to speak.

"We used to play for silver, now we play for life"
-- Jack Straw (as in Straw Man Specifications), Grateful Dead

I can't see the video because of a flash player issue. 

If the video is about health:  From a health perspective, I'm not sure what are strong indicators of health.  I'm overweight, but have such good blood pressure I'm asked if I take blood pressure lowering drugs when it's checked, good cholesterol, etc.  I know weight increases my risk factor, but I'm not sure if moreso than if I had high blood pressure.  Being a largely whole foods vegan has helped all of the health indicators, except for weight.

If the video is about aesthetics:  meh.


My weight stayed exactly the same when I went vegan. I guess I was eating pretty similarly before I was vegan, just with some added animal products. It's not like I went from Doritos and Mountain Dew to a whole foods diet. I guess it depends on whether one has extra weight to lose when they went vegan? Are there studies that show that going vegan is associated with significant weight loss? I've heard reports all across the board.

I don't want to promote veganism as a weight loss fad, because people will come and go and if it doesn't work in the first 2 weeks, then they can say "Oh, tried it. Didn't work." Being vegan is about so much more than just what you put into your mouth. I just can't imagine veganism being promoted like say, the Atkins Diet, which came and went. Vegan has nothing to do with quality of foods or low fat or anything usually diet-associated. It's simply an animal-free lifestyle. One can be vegan and eat cookies and potato chips all day. Does that sound healthy?

I just don't like how veganism gets thrown into the mix so often, because the general population doesn't seem to understand what it's all about. For most of us, this isn't something we pick up for a few weeks at a time to drop some weight. It's a lifestyle change and a lifestyle choice, much different than a diet.


marijuana has double the amount of carcinogens in it as cigarettes. it also ups your risk for cancer because you hold it in your lungs longer than cigarette smoke. just saying. smoking, anything really but especially marijuana, isn't healthy.


None of those things.  ???

I'm hypothyroid, so I've always made conscience food choices.  My proportions shifted slightly.  I get more carbs/fiber and fewer fats/sodium, but it was a minor shift.  That, and I eat much less processed food now.  It's a conundrum.


My weight loss since becoming vegan two years ago has been a gradual thing.  Maybe 1/4 pound a month, but I'm ten pounds lighter, lean, and people notice.

People whom switch from the SAD to a vegan diet can lose weight with ease and I think this definitely should be promoted.  

The McDouggal diet plan has been around for years.  Skinny Bitch took it to a new level and helped take vegan weight loss mainstream.  Just to name a couple.   So it's happening and has been happening.  The problem is people think veganism is extreme and difficult, and many think it's unhealthy, so it's not taken off like other weight loss programs.  It's not that vegans aren't promoting it as a weight loss.

I like the "Forks Over Knives" approach to "plant based diets", which urges people to eat a vegan diet, but doesn't shove it down their throats.  The people in the movie lost weight.

It's a bit irritating that rather than promote veganism they use "plant based diet".  Still that's easier for people to understand and follow than a strict vegan diet because you know we vegans can be judgemental...."OMG that gum you're chewing has glycerin in it!!!! You murderer!!!"

Plant based and vegan diets are indeed being promoted as a weight loss tool.  


Surely veganism = weight loss is a dead horse, by now? If you'll pardon the pun.
Going vegan does not equal weight loss. Veganism is not necessarily healthier than a non-vegan diet, especially not if one has access to a Hannah Kaminsky cookbook or a cheap source of Tofutti. :P Fat people are not necessarily unhealthy, and if they are, their weight is not necessarily the root cause. Veganism should probably be undertaken as more of a lifestyle change than a weight loss 'diet.'

(This post would probably seem more credible if I went and dug out the old threads to this effect, but...)


"Veganism should probably be undertaken as more of a lifestyle change than a weight loss 'diet.'" -- Do you have an issue with veganism being undertaken for multiple reasons?  That is, is this a "no fat people allowed" club?   ;)

I don't think the OP was suggesting this at all, and I think you're really taking their comment out of context. In short to your question to me, yes, I do think it matters why someone went vegan. If someone goes vegan for ethical reasons, they are going to be more likely to stick with it than someone who just tries it to lose weight. If we really want to get nit-picky, that person would be a strict vegetarian, since they are most likely not going to expunge all animal products out of their life, just their diet. I want to kick people in the face when they tried to be vegan for a month, didn't lose weight, then talked shit about veganism, and how it didn't work for them and they got sick because they couldn't get enough protein blah blah blah. Stupid people who don't know what they are talking about are hurting the movement.

I am also tired of hearing about how vegans are deficient in X, Y, and Z. There are people that have been vegan for decades and they're not keeling over and dying, and somehow athletes like Scott Jurek and Brendan Brazier somehow manage to overcome all the vitamin deficiencies and kick ass at ultra sports.

Also, I don't really think I went vegan slowly...? I don't know what time scale you're using. I mean, a couple of months, maybe? I don't know. My weight has been the same since I was...11 maybe 12?


What Tweety said about what's already been done, and

I went vegan very abruptly, and lost no weight. My diet was also healthier once I went vegan (vs diet of junk food pre-vegan). Who knows. Everyone's different.

eta: giving it more thought, it would take more than the intuition that veganism is good for weight loss. Granted there has been far flimsier evidence for diet fads that happen, but it'd just be more responsible if there was a good amount of research that showed that a vegan diet (w/o other restrictions) lead to a decrease in BMI and/or fat mass by percent, and giving an average kcalories/day and makeup of that diet (e.g. average 8% calories from protein, 20% fat, 72% carbs, so that we know the average is not a diet of oreos, and it was more than a diet of lettuce).

if it takes a lowfat vegan diet for people to lose weight reliably, then you might wonder why not just do a low fat diet (not necessarily vegan), since it's conventional wisdom that it would work. Veganism appears to be inconvenient, so a strong case would probably be needed... unlike Atkins, since while weight loss seemed unlikely, it was a decadent diet that many took to easily.

I think the problem is really three things:
- diet fads don't last
- diet fads are for women
- people already know how to lose weight

if you're doing something as a weight loss fix, it's not permanent. either people fall off the wagon all the time, or achieve their goal and go back to their old habits to a degree (some people keep the diet, but that's not the majority). overall, i'm not sure how many more vegans we'd get, and how fewer animals killed.

crash dieting is marketed to women (with disposable income!), and that's already the receptive audience for veganism. i.e. it's already people being targeted or considering vegetarianism/veganism.

third, i think people generally know how to lose weight (eat fewer calories, exercise more, eat healthier, etc). it's just a matter of making it appear easy and tasty (everyone knows how to lose weight, but no one wants to change what they're doing). So it takes more than saying veganism leads to weight loss - it has to be convenient, reasonably cheap*, and tasty in a way that most people already like (i like tofu and kale and curry, but most people aren't as familiar). *veganism can be done totally balanced and very cheap, but that's not the impression others get with all the substitute dairy/meat products out there, as well as the fact that (specifically) vegan food is easier to find in more "upscale," urban markets.
since veganism doesn't come off easy OR tasty, that solidifies it as a temporary diet fix. unless there's a home-cooking revolution, the way to make it convenient and tasty is instant-type (frozen, microwaveable, family-sized) vegan foods in regular stores with familiar flavors.


I think it might be more accurate to say that being skinny does not necessarily mean you are healthy (as opposed to saying that being overweight does not mean you are unhealthy).
Don't you know any skinny people who eat like TOTAL crap, drink a ton, have high cholesterol, etc....?
I also know overweight people who exercise daily, eat super healthily (and vegan), but can't seem to lose the extra pounds.

I agree with the "lifestyle change" instead of "diet"...this one guy always asks me how the "diet" is going when he sees me, as if i am on the South Beach or Atkins. ha!


Despite the fact that when people here "healthcare," they think " hospitals," no, I am not in the field that would profit off of obesity ;)b even if i were, i'm still fairly sane (IMHO, of course).

anyway, i get that you're not suggesting it as a fad diet. however, in the sea of fad, non-permanent diets, i think that's how it would be taken. generally if something is taken as a legit shift in how we think about food, it tends to get integrated into what public health & the government promote, like the "5-a-day" things for fruits and vegetables. If it's some person promoting it, even if they're a doctor and a dietician and have PhDs etc etc... it's not the same as it coming from an ad campaign from an official organization. =/


I haven't read Skinny Bitch, but I think you just described her approach to weight loss...include animal suffering in the hopes of convincing people to stick with it while providing good sound advice.  I'm not sure if she includes meal plans or not.

I think this is a good approach.  With the obesity epidemic and the healthful benefits and the ability to lose weight with ease, I think it's a great idea for a weight loss program and agree it's important that people get good sound advice on how to proceed and get a nutritionally sound and complete diet. 


I've been an exclusively plant-eating creature for almost exactly two years; I actually gained a couple pounds, early on, b/c I so enjoyed playing w/ new recipes & exploring new foods that I cooked more.  :)  I will say, tho, that *when I'm paying attention* to weight issues, it's much easier to maintain a healthy weight without going hungry, counting calories, etc compared to how I ate before... but there's also lots of curvy vegans about (self happily included!), so clearly it's not always a 'weight loss' thing-- and selling it as such, imo, is selling it short.

I surely have no problem with saying 'if you ARE trying to lose weight and are veg-curious, a whole-foods veg diet can be weight-loss friendly'... but as a sole or even primary reason for trying it, I don't think that's a very strong position to try to argue.


HCM:  You and I have a slightly different version of "selling veganism short".  I consider "selling veganism short" doing things like pushing it on little girls with eating disorders and not telling people about its nutritional short comings.


Just out of curiosity... exactly which of my posts are you referring to?! 'cause wow that seems a bit random.

To communicate perhaps more clearly, since obviously what you heard isn't what I thought I said: I think the best reasons to go veg are (in no particular order) reduced environmental impact; improved overall health/ reduced risk for coronary artery disease, diabetes, some cancers, stroke, Alzheimer's, and other debilitating chronic conditions resulting from these things (kidney failure, peripheral vascular disease, diabetic ulcers/ amputations, etc); and cessation of support of institutionalized animal cruelty. All of these, to me, completely outshine the relatively minor perk of easier weight loss/ maintenance of healthy body weight, though of course that can be nice too.

I don't think age, gender, or eating disorder recovery status play significant roles in whether the above reasons to eat plants are good ones.

Obviously with any diet change, initial self education is key to establish good nutritional habits. I don't think that's in question... So... yeah.

"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
--Sidney Hook


That... is some remarkably uncompelling debate content.

My prior post had nothing to do with 'selling veganism to little girls with eating disorders,' or whatever... I was/ am saying that weight loss is the very least of the reasons I think veg eating is a good idea. Seems like you started this thread to give yourself a soap box for preaching against veganism because you think it is unhealthy, causes excessive weight loss, and only 'little girls with eating disorders' are susceptible to its evil charms. In which case debate is not the goal, and we're all wasting our time engaging you on this thread.

For the record, I'm 40 and a happy size 12/14, depending on the cut of the clothing... I have never had an eating disorder, except perhaps in the sense of having an addiction to foolishly expensive coffee and being unable to resist buying non-local out-of-season produce during winter months, especially citrus fruits.

I'm interested in which of the three reasons for planteating I mention, above, that you think i can't support? betcha i can.  

Regarding nutritional viability, the folks who make the study of human nutrition their life's work-- ie professional nutritionists at the American Dietetic Association and every other similar organization around the world-- seem to disagree with you; I'm gonna go ahead and take their (research-based, peer-reviewed) word for it, over yours.

I am truly sorry that you have not had a positive experience with vegan eating; bitterness and condescension, though, do not make your opinions any more or less valuable than anyone else's. I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish here, but wish you well-- whether you like veganism or not.  

I do; and I'm happy and healthy and well, and am going to eat this way til I die of old age-- probably still with a junk-in-the-trunk booty, and sorry for not a damn bit of it. :)


you might want to reconsider this path, nsfdri. this gal pwns people before breakfast.


FB, I'm gonna write into my will that my family gets *nothing*, unless they use that as the epitaph on my headstone (right AFTER i die of old age, righteous badonkadonk in tow).  ;D

Dude: oh nuh-uh-- there's too much-- we'll be here all day!... Let's zero in on our points of disagreement. YOU raised it-- so, you bring forth the evidence YOU think is relevant, as follows...

Please provide supporting evidence that
1) Animal based diets (specifically within industrial/ 1st-world nations, where factory-style farming is the norm) are more sustainable/ cause less pollution/ use less water/ are a more efficient use of resources/ have a lower carbon footprint/ cause less environmental harm than vegan diets.
2) Animal-based diets reduce risk for vascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, cancer, or Alzheimer's disease (or the complications resulting from these conditions).
3) Industrial animal agribusiness does not participate in animal cruelty, as a matter of standard practice.

Bring whatcha got, and we'll see if we have time to review it, etc etc etc.

If that is too difficult, please consider at least specifying which general premise you challenge. Even as a planteater, I've only got prob'ly 60 more years or so to hang around, and-- hate to tell ya-- but there's a tremendous amount of data out there, supporting the hypothesis that vegan diets are a good idea on all fronts mentioned above... so, let's prioritize, for efficiency's sake. Pick a category: if you can't bring your own supporting data, which of the general categories above do you challenge? Vegan eating is *not* primarily a weight loss issue; acknowledge, or rebut with fact versus opinion.

"Truly, you have a dizzying intellect." -- the Dread Pirate Wesley


Nah, I'm stupid like that, and you are annoying the pig  ;)

well that was a low blow :)

this guy had ocd when it comes to quotes... haha


oh god, here we go with the GNC soy shakes and lysine again


oh god, here we go with the GNC soy shakes and lysine again

"May the bird of paradise fly up you nose." -- Little Jimmy Dickens

say whaaaa? i don't speak in quotes :)


Ok, several things going on here...

"Girl, I don't dispute any of the three points you made in this post..."

First, if you don't dispute the health/ environment/ ethics reasons to eat vegan, then what's all the hubbub about demanding supporting research for these very ideas

"not all of which can be substantiated"


"if you want to give me some of the research you speak of, I will see if I have time to review it for myself in a fashion unbiased by funding sources and a priori opinion..."

If we are in agreement that health, environmental impact, and reduced support for institutionalized animal cruelty ARE good reasons to eat plants, then this thread is very appropriately titled... why *would* anyone choose weight loss as a reason to recommend vegan eating, when there are so many stronger reasons to do so?! Which was my original point; I'm glad we agree on that, after all. So far so good.

"My turn, please supply me evidence that:
1.  Switching to a vegan diet doesn't generally promote weight loss.
2.  A vegan diet is nutritionally sound.  That is please supply me with a vegan diet that satisfies all of the nutritional requirements for some individual over 18 years of age as specified in the book "Dietary Reference Intakes:  The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements" plus that contains at least 51 mg of lysine for each gram of protein so that it has a protein quality scoring pattern on par with an omnivore diet.
3.  This is nearly impossible since nutrition is a still evolving science, but proof that a vegan diet is nutritionally complete."

Well, I'm not sure we should trade turns yet, since you've yet to produce any 'evidence' other than your own personal experiences, which is like me saying, 'I'm allergic to tree pollen, so you should stay indoors in the springtime'... For point #1, you're asking me to prove a negative, where you have submitted no evidence for the positive... that's sloppy logic, isn't it? I don't know of any study that has attempted to rule out weight loss among vegans, but it would be difficult to design-- because experiments seeking to demonstrate positive correlation are easier to design and implement. So, back to you: what studies DO support your hypothesis that vegan diets generally cause unwanted weight loss? If it's just your say-so, and my experience is different, than that's just a couple of anecdotes. The difference here is that you're attempting to extrapolate your experience and apply it to all people who follow a vegan diet. I'm not saying everyone gains weight when they start vegan eating, or that no one experiences weight loss. Some folks do find weight loss either pleasantly or unpleasantly easy, while eating vegan... some do not. But your personal story is not equivalent to science, and should not be treated as such.

Points #2 and #3 are the same thing, are they not? but okey-dokey. I'll defer to those with greater expertise than me, who have put a great deal of time and professional energy into studying this very subject.

I don't have a ton of peer-reviewed nutrition articles printed out and laying about the house on this topic-- I'm a food dork, but there are limits!-- but if you can rebut the best research from the dieticians/ nutritionists of at least 3 countries, then I look forward to reading your work, once you publish....  ;)

As to the health stuff, I'll save that full report for later-- I must also actually *eat* food, sometime tonight, as well as talk about it!-- but for anyone who wants to start the process of researching it online, Alzheimer's (along with other types of vascular dementia) is one of those 'Western diseases of affluence', deeply linked to an animal-based diet. Good for the heart= good for the brain... diabetes and systemic vascular disease from high cholesterol are two of the best predictors for dementia; diets that reduce risk for the former reduce risk for the latter. One caveat is that B12 deficiency can increase homocysteine levels in the blood, which *increases* Alzheimer's risk; but obviously B12 deficiency is a problem in itself, and hopefully veg eaters already try to avoid that risk factor-- adults over 65 are encouraged to supplement B12 anyhow, regardless of diet, so that's not a vegan-specific risk by any means...

According to the continuing education offered to health care providers by the national Alzheimer's Association, the dietary risk factors for Alzheimer's are the same as those for heart disease: "According to the most current research, a brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol." They recommend either a Mediterranean diet or whole-foods plant-based diet with heavy DHA/B12 supplementation... at least that was current best research as of last November (when I went to their conference). There's a lot of research links I think at; I'll get back to this though, 'cause it's good stuff! Knowledge=power...

Look, I'm not saying that 100% vegan diets work for everyone everywhere no matter what; I get that you had a hard time with unwanted weight loss. I'm just saying you can't generalize "it's like that for me" to "it's like that for everyone." Your certainty that you alone know how other people should or shouldn't eat is odd and strangely reasoned, imo. But peace unto ye; sorry for the long and rambling nature of this post.

(but... not really, and I'm quite likely to do it again without warning.)  :)

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." -- Voltaire



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