Is Vegetarian Diet Rich In Protein? Busting Myths Surrounding A Meat-Free Diet

A vegetarian diet is one which does not involve meat or fish. Some vegetarians do consume eggs and dairy products. In this article, we are going to talk about the benefits of a vegetarian diet and how it can help in weight loss and provide the body with complete nutrition. Studies have found that vegetarian diet can help in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and even longer life expectancy. Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal says that by adding seasonal fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, nuts and seeds in their diet, vegetarians can in fact get complete nutrition.

Vegetarian diet: Nutrition profile

1. Vegetarian diet is rich in protein. The biggest myth surrounding vegetarian diet is lack of good quality protein. But you must stop believing it instantly. According to Nmami, you can eat dal and rice (complete source of essential amino acids), paneer, almonds, quinoa, amaranth, lentils, chickpeas, tofu and sprouts to get quality protein from a vegetarian diet.

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Pulses are a great source of plant protein
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Here’s How You Can Get The Best Quality Protein In A Vegetarian Diet

2. The diet is also a rich source of simple carbs, the healthier ones. Foods like sweet potato, banana, apple, corn, oats, rice, kidney beans and dates are all instances of vegetarian carb-rich foods.

3. Speaking about healthy fats, then there are a number of options like chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybean oil, olive oil and ghee to name a few.

4. Same is the case with fibre in vegetarian diet. Having fresh fruits and sautéed vegetables is the best way to get your daily recommended intake of fibre through a vegetarian diet.

Also read: Non-Vegetarian Vs A Vegetarian Diet: Which One Is Better And Why?

Does vegetarian diet have benefits over non-vegetarian diet for weight loss?

Nmami, while taking a neutral stance, says that weight loss can be achieved by nothing but the right combination of food. “It is neither related to a vegetarian diet nor a non-vegetarian diet,” she says and adds, “In both the diets there are multiple foods that are unhealthy and leads to high cholesterol levels which should be forbidden from the diet. And at the same time, there are multiple foods capable to aid in weight loss. But always remember a specific food can never lead to weight loss. You need to follow a proper diet along with regular physical regime.”

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Vegetarian diet, when combined with exercise, can help you lose weight
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: 6 Plant-Based Sources Of Protein For Vegans And Vegetarians

A simple vegetarian diet plan you can follow

Here’s something that all the vegetarians out there are going to love. Nmami shares a diet plan that can help in maintaining weight and provide you with optimum nutrition.

Breakfast: Poha, upma, porridge, whole wheat sandwich

Mid-meal snack: Any fruit

Lunch: Mix veg sabzi with bran chapatti and salad; brown rice pulao; paneer chapatti wrap

Evening snack: Murmura chaat; roasted makhana; fruits; vegetable juice; vegetables with hung curd dip

Dinner: Bran chapatti with sautéed veggies; soup with wheat tortillas; brown rice pulao

Post Dinner: 1 glass lukewarm milk

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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