Nowadays, plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular among health enthusiasts. Following a vegetarian diet includes health benefits like reducing risk of heart disease, and diabetes. Diets including vegan diet, ovo-vegetarian diet, lacto-vegetarian diet, and pescatarian diet have made their way to most vegetarians' weight loss journeys. Flexitarian diet is the newest kid on the block and looks like it has already made waves among all health conscious people. Flexitarianism or casual vegetarianism is an increasingly popular, mostly plant-based, semi-vegetarian diet that claims to encourage more vegetarian foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. Basically, it is more flexible than fully vegetarian or vegan diets. So, what is the flexitarian diet really and how does it help keep you healthy and lose weight? Let's find out.
Flexitarian diet: What is it and how does it help?
Nowadays, there are many diets that restrict certain food groups; however, with our fast moving, contemporary lifestyle, it gets difficult to monitor what we consume on a daily basis. This is when flexitarian diet comes into play; it doesn't restrict your food options, but just regulates them. The flexitarian diet emphasises more on the consumption of plant-based foods while simultaneously reducing your meat intake. So, if you are a meat lover, you wouldn't have to give up on your favourite non-vegetarian dish; just ensure controlled portions.
(Also Read: Here's How Vegetarianism May Help You Live Longer)
The flexitarian diet emphasises more on the consumption of plant-based foods
This diet does not have set or clear-cut rules or recommended number of calories and macronutrients; in fact, it is more of a lifestyle than just a diet. The flexitarian diet is based on the following principles:
- Eat least processed foods, most natural form of foods
- Limit added sugar and sweets
- Include mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains in your diet
- Focus on getting protein from plants instead of animals
- Remember to add meat and animal products from time to time. Make sure you are controlling portions.
(Also Read: 6 Excellent Sources Of Protein For Your Daily Diet)
Possible health benefits of the Flexitarian diet
- This diet encourages the consumption of plant-based foods; therefore, the health benefits of these diets apply to the flexitarian diet.
- This diet helps you include more plant-based proteins that maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Include more lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains for a healthy protein load up. You could also eat eggs and dairy products, but in a limited quantity.
- If you are trying to lose weight, the flexitarian diet may be credible. Eating plant-based foods will mean you are loading up on lesser number of calories, which means you will be able to lose weight, the healthy way.
- A study presented at the American Heart Association found that people who followed a semi-vegetarian diet had a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
- It is said that this diet may help reduce your carbon footprint by eating less meat.
- It is easier to follow; thanks to the flexibility it has to offer.
- It helps keep you fuller for longer; thanks to more intake of fibre due to consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, et al.
- According to a study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association, a vegetarian diet contains a greater amount of nutrient-dense food compared to non-vegetarian diets.
While there are negligible potential health risks, you should still consult a nutritionist or dietitian who can help you construct a helpful diet plan.