First of all what exactly is a plant based diet??
A plant based diet focuses on increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, while limiting the amount of processed foods, which can animal products. However, I like to not focus on what you will limit in your diet and instead focus on adding more of certain food items. If you are eating more fruits and vegetables, you will probably automatically eat less processed foods so there is no need to feel like you have to restrict your diet.
Just focus on eating more whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts and you are heading in the right direction!
Weight loss - A plant based diet can help with weight loss, especially in individuals that are obese. Plant based diets are more nutrient dense which can help with weight management without compromising the quality of the overall diet.
Diabetes - According to one study, a plant-based diet with no or little meat may help prevent and treat diabetes, possibly by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing insulin resistance.
Heart Health - those on a plant based diet have been found to have lower rates of heart disease and high blood pressure. According to a 2010 literature review by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a plant based diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. The benefits may be most associated with the reduction of red meat consumption.
It is important to remember that simply restricting animal products and processed foods won't result in significant health benefits. The key is incorporating more fruits and vegetables which is why I am focusing on a plant based diet, instead of simply advocating for a vegetarian or vegan diet. A vegetarian or vegan diet focuses on what food items to exclude from diet, not necessarily the type of foods that should be included.
I have shared in the past some of the essential vitamins and minerals that are important to include if adopting a more plant based diet here.
1. Tuso, P. (2013). Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. The Permanente Journal,17(2), 61-66. doi:10.7812/tpp/12-085