Tuesday, March 03, 2009

3 Foods Vegetarians Must NOT Eat For Fat Loss

Finally, after months of searching I finally found a vegetarian fat loss expert. His name is John Alvino, and even though I've known him a long time,
it was only recently I found out he was an expert in vegetarian meal plans for fat loss. Check out his vegetarian meal plans here.
In fact, I stumbled across this when I read an article by John where he pointed out that some vegetarians are actually eating animal products without them knowing it! The biggest culprit is jello. Some folks eat the sugar free version on their diets, but they don't realize gelatin is made from animal parts (and some pretty weird ones, too).
So I asked John to tell us his 3 foods you must NOT eat if you are a vegetarian that wants to lose fat.
Controversial stuff...here it is:
#1 Food to avoid on a vegetarian fat loss diet:
Excessive soy products
Most vegetarians consume copious amounts of soy. Heck, it is not uncommon to see soy milk for breakfast, soy burgers for lunch and soy ice cream for a late night snack.
These foods can stop your fat loss dead in its tracks. In addition to all of the sugar and salt these products contain, soy has an estrogenic effect in the body. 
Excess estrogen binds to the fat cells and causes an increase in the size of estrogen-sensitive fatty tissue such as belly fat.
#2 Food to avoid on a vegetarian fat loss diet:
Flour products
This list of fat loss no-nos includes: breads, pasta, muffins, cereals and just about all other baked goods.
These foods increase a hormone named insulin in the body which directly promotes the storage of fat. 
Flour also has an inflammatory effect in the body. The last thing you want is inflammation in your joints which can cause pain and prevent you from being active. 
#3 Food to avoid on a vegetarian fat loss diet:
Cheese contains animal based saturated fat which has a negative effect on your carbohydrate metabolism. 
In the presence of saturdated fat, ingested carbohydrates are directed to your fat cells for storage instead of being diverted to your muscle cells for energy. 
Vegetarian diets are typically higher in carbohydrates and anything that interferes with their utilization should be minimized or completely avoided.
Hmmmm...very controversial...what do YOU think?
I'm going to do a follow-up phone interview with John later today,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
PS - Don't think you can get enough protein on a vegetarian diet?
John proves the other so-called "diet experts" wrong. In his meal plans, you'll get enough protein to keep your fat burning going all day long.
This info is priceless for vegetarians who want to lose fat without eating animal products.


Matthew Gartland said...

Hi Craig:

Fabulous post; as always! This one is quite intriguing. While I'm not a vegetarian my sister is. She's very health/nutrition conscious as am I. She uses cheese (low-fat) as a good source of complete protein and calcium. From your perspective, should this strategy be re-examined? Also, does this new thinking apply to all cheese types or some more than others?

As always, thank you!



Anonymous said...

Definitely controversial (to say the least) and also inaccurate and dangerous.

First, the effects of soy products on estrogen levels and especially adipose (fat) tissue have not been scientifically proven. Soy milk and soy products, for many vegetarians replaces, regular milk and meats. Completely cutting out soy products would eliminate some vegetarians' sources of calcium and iron- minerals that vegetarians are already at risk for being deficient in.

Second, never completely cut out a food group, ESPECIALLY carbs!! As a vegetarian myself, this may sound like I'm pointing a finger in the wrong direction, but carbohydrates in moderate, healthy amounts are not enemies. Whole grains actually have many positive effects on heart health and cancer prevention- not to mention carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. Also, insulin promotes the storage of carbohydrates in the body as glycogen (a storage form of carbs). Carbs are not stored as fat by the body unless they are consumed in excess.

Also, fat burns in a carbohydrate flame. The body cannot even begin metabolism of fat without carbohydrates.

Very poor recommendation.

Third, the only thing that might be a good recommendation is the cheese argument. True, cheese has saturated fats and, as with anything, large amounts of it can have negative health affects. However, low-fat dairy products in moderation are excellent sources of calcium, a mineral that vegetarians are already lacking.

Lastly, when choosing diet advice to follow, be very very skeptical of diets that say NEVER eat a certain food group. All of the foods mentioned on this list are key in a vegetarian diet to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral consumption.

You want to talk about altered carbohydrate metabolism and the body's ability to burn fat and lose weight safely and in the long run? Try depriving it of key nutrients....NOT.


A Registered Dietitian and vegetarian with a Master's degree in Nutrition.

:) Stay healthy.

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, not to mention ... hello, PROTEIN- soy and cheese are major sources of protein in a vegetarian diet. I recommend NOT to follow this guy's recommendations.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

Dear Anonymous RD,

John does not recommend cutting out carbs.

Dear Anonymous,

there are many ways to get protein besides soy and cheese.


Anonymous said...

I'm vegan and I do like these. There are much better sources of carbs than flour (fruit, beans, whole grains--not processed into flour) and isolated soy protein is processed garbage. I have a bit of fermented soy product like tempeh, but vegan junk foods aren't a food for me.


Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous,

You must like to hear yourself talk and read what you write. John said, "Don't eat excessive amounts of soy". Assuming that you really have a Master's, I'm sure you know what the word excessive means.

You are defending your beliefs against a guy who never even said to cut out ALL soy forever.

Additionally, you are trying to dispute John on his recommendation to cut out all carbs. What are you talking about? I read the post twice and he never said anything that even resembled that.

I don't mean to get on your case because obviously you have some serious insecurities.

I just felt the need to clarify this because I've been reading John's material for over a year now and I find it to be very unique, informative and effective. Keep up the great work John!

A vegetarian with a Master's in psychology.

Charlotte said...

Well let me start off by saying that I'm a vegetarian with a master's degree as well! (In Computer Science so not really relevant but it was just too hilarious to not chime in.) I will comment under my own name.

That said, this issue has long been a source of frustration for me. I work out hard and eat very healthy so the idea that my "healthy" foods are actually subverting my fitness goals is very disheartening. I gave up processed soy products a long time ago as they give me wicked bad gas but have kept a daily serving or two of miso/tempeh/tofu. The longest lived population in the world, the Okinawans consume a good deal of unprocessed soy and they are quite lean. And yet, the estrogenic effects of soy still concern me. We need some definitive research on this, stat.

In regards to the flour, was the recommendation to avoid ALL flours (in favor of the actual whole grain, I'm assuming) or just white processed flours? Would I see better results if I stuck to unprocessed grains?

Am off to check of those meal plans now - thanks for the great though-provoking post. I hope to hear more about this!

Charlotte said...

Um, just FYI - those links to the vegetarian "meal plans" take you to an advertising page that has nothing to do with vegetarian meal plans. I clicked through about 3 pages of bolded hyperbole and still didn't find a word remotely relevant to this issue. Lots of stuff selling Alvino's e-book tho. It sounds interesting, but it's not what it was purported to be. *cue frowny face*