Is it more difficult to be a vegetarian on a diet?

Margaret Floyd, a leading nutritionist, has explained the obstacles that many vegetarians face if they want to lose weight. Her insight makes interesting reading as many think that vegetarians have a head start on meat eaters when it comes to nutrition, health and shedding the pounds. The author of the best-selling book on nutrition Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You has said that in all her years as a nutritionist she has never yet seen a client thrive for a long time following a vegetarian diet.

Floyd has described many of her present client as recovering vegetarians, those who have chosen the lifestyle for various reasons such as ethical, health and environmental but struggled under the dietary restrictions. She says that once she reintroduces animal proteins into their diets their overall wellbeing immediately improved. She points out that she too was a vegetarian for 10 years, and was constantly hungry.

She also says that she had mad cravings for pasta and sugar and absolutely nothing filled her up. She remembered ordering 2 dinners, eating them both, and although her stomach was so stuffed it was distended, the gnawing feeling of hunger was still there. She says that the moment she started eating and digesting meat again, she felt satisfied for the first time in years, and could also be satisfied without stuffing herself to excess.

Why does she think eliminating animal protein makes weight management difficult? Floyd has a number of reasons:

vegetarians often end up eating too many starchy carbohydrates (grains, potatoes, bread, pasta), which can cause spikes in insulin, a fat storage hormone
they are constantly craving sugar because they’re not eating enough protein, and not digesting the protein they are eating (and 60% of protein gets converted to glucose – so if you’re not digesting it properly, and many vegetarians aren’t according to Floyd, then you’re going to crave that sugar you’re not getting)
because they’re constantly craving sugar, many vegetarians end up eating more of it and having more insulin spikes and, as with the starchy carbohydrates, this leads to more fat storage

Floyd does acknowledge the concept of bio-individuality, and readily agrees that there are many who do just fine on a vegetarian diet. However, she continues, “the feedback I’ve gotten from Eat Naked and my clients has consistently been gratitude for showing them how to eat foods that they’ve always intuitively known are good for them but felt too guilty and wrong about eating – like whole milk, butter, beef, egg yolks, etc.” And what about those who forgo meat because they think it’s wrong to consume animals? Well, there is probably no getting around that. Margaret Floyd promotes eating organic, eating local and seasonal, and consuming meat that has been humanely raised. But some people may be happier eating ‘naked’ while also eating a maintaining a vegetarian diet.