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Old 11-28-2008, 12:03 AM   #1  
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Default Ultra Low Fat Vegan Diet - Does it Work?

Hi all,
I'm just curious as to whether anyone has ever followed/is following this kind of diet that has been encouraged by doctors like Pritkin and Ornish and Barnard and is losing weight and not feeling huge cravings.

I was taking a look at the PCRM website and linked to the Nutrition MD website that has a menu planner and a section on losing weight under the nutritional tips menu (I'm not posting the direct link because I'm afraid it will be removed ). The gist of the plan that they recommend is 8 servings of whole grains, 3 servings of beans/tofu, four servings of veggies, three servings of fruit, and 100 calories of sweet treats. No added fat whatsoever.

The recipes look great and it looks fairly straight forward but the heavy emphasis is on carbs (whole grains, fruit, etc.) and less on protein and no added fats at all. I know this kind of diet was very popular in the 1980's but my understanding is that since then, there have been a lot of studies showing that good fats like olive oil and nuts in moderation are healthy and this kind of ultra-low fat diet doesn't work in the long run for weight loss.

I was thinking of doing a version of this that has less emphasis on carbs and more on protein (in the form of beans - I'm trying to limit soy because of all the stuff I've read about too much of it having adverse affects) and adding some good fats like nuts and olive oil.

Anyone try this kind of high carb (good carb, though)/ultra low fat diet? How did you feel and how did you do in terms of weight loss and cravings?

Tam
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:01 AM   #2  
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Every true vegan I have ever known has been a small person...I have also known people that were vegan 1 or 2 days a week ...I personally couldn't do it..if you can than go girl!
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:03 AM   #3  
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When I first lost weight I did this kind of diet. I used to joke it was 'no meat, no fat, no sugar, no alcohol'. It might have been me, but I had problems with thinning hair. I've read since then that low fat diets can cause this (as well as too low cal, which I believe I was also doing, but I wasn't counting). If you're going to do it, I would add in more fats for sure.

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Old 11-28-2008, 08:31 AM   #4  
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Yes low fat vegan diets do work. There are a number of them out there and they do contain enough fat that they won't be detrimental. A lot of the 'low fat' scare came in the 80s when people were eating processed junk that was stripped of fat and loaded with sugar.

Eat to Live is a good example of low fat vegan diet. I followed that for a while (and wish I could discipline myself to do it again) eating about 10% fat.

I think the PCRM diet is Dr Ornish's diet but I'm not 100% sure. I've read about people following that with fat percentages of about 5%.

My recommendation would be to read some of the books behind the diets to understand them. They do work and are usually prescribed to people who have heart disease. For me personally, my cholesterol has dropped a lot since starting a vegan diet. Last checkup it was 113. I believe before that it was in the 180s. My husband's cholesterol recently came back at 112 and he was also in the higher 100s previously.

Lastly a low fat whole foods vegan diet is good for diabetes. From what I've read, it has cured diabetes in a high percentage of people who have followed it and it has helped the small percentage that it didn't cure.
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:42 PM   #5  
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It works for me. I have lost about 30 pounds and my cholesterol came way down. There are a lot of variations on the diet, but the basic gist is very-low-fat (10-15%), whole-foods, and plant-based. I think you do have to be careful that you are not missing out on certain nutritional requirements (you do need a source of omega-3 fatty acids, B12, vitamin D, enough protein, etc.), but try to fit in these things in a way that still complies with the general plan. I don't feel cravings for meat or dairy, but I do get hungry sometimes and then I will grab one of my daughter's snacks that is not exactly on the plan (processed or higher in fat). In general, the diet is a very healthy one. As above, there are a ton of books out there by different doctors who advocate this way of eating: McDougall, Esselstyn, Barnard, Ornish and Fuhrman are the main ones who come to mind. Each one has a slightly different perspective on the issue and they all have recipes!
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Old 11-28-2008, 02:35 PM   #6  
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Thank you all for the replies. I have read Fuhrman's book, as well as Barnard's and a bit of McDougall's. I think my basic problem with them was that I came from a meat-eating low carb diet, and while I don't necessarily believe that the ultra low carb approach is the right one for me, I also don't believe that the ultra low fat approach is any better (since both are extreme). I am looking into doing something similar to PCRM but replacing some of the grain servings with fat servings (equal in calories, though, so my calorie count won't be over 1500). I'm still considering doing this, but I guess that hunger and junk food cravings are a big concern for me, since I have a history of binge eating. Part of that is emotional, which I'm working on, but I also think part of that is because of dieting.

We'll see what happens .

Tam
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Old 11-28-2008, 03:46 PM   #7  
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Although I never did atkins, I always followed a fairly meaty, fairly low carb diet before jumping into Eat to Live. One day I just stopped eating meat and switched to the vegan diet and it was the best thing I ever did. Although right now I'm considering doing a vegan form of South beach diet which should be interesting. (I've done it before)
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:17 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nelie View Post
I'm considering doing a vegan form of South beach diet which should be interesting. (I've done it before)
I tried a vegan SBD and failed miserably. What did you eat while on phase 1? I pretty much ate beans and greens, but gained weight.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:02 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nelie View Post
Although I never did atkins, I always followed a fairly meaty, fairly low carb diet before jumping into Eat to Live. One day I just stopped eating meat and switched to the vegan diet and it was the best thing I ever did. Although right now I'm considering doing a vegan form of South beach diet which should be interesting. (I've done it before)
I did Atkins, but meat always grossed me out. Read Barnard's book, as well as the 30 Day Diabetes Miracle Diet. Both very similar, although 30 Day limits the carbs per meal and no snacks. I also one day just stopped eating meat and switched to the veg diet and it was the best thing I ever did.

Lost the cravings. Whole foods, lowfat, low glycemic, vegan. I can't see me doing healthier than that!
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