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6 Vegetarian diet for weight loss and muscle gain

Weight Loss, Vitamin

Weight loss and muscle gain are sensitive topics for vegetarians since it is thought that to gain muscle, you need to eat chicken for lean protein. so what is the vegetarian diet for weight loss?

Vegetarian diet for weight loss

Being non-vegetarian is not a requirement for muscle building; you can achieve it through vegetarian protein sources. Here are six excellent vegetarian foods, abundant in nutrients and minerals, especially suitable for those who prefer a meatless diet. These foods are beneficial for weight loss and muscle development, though individuals with digestive issues or diabetes should consider incorporating them into their daily meals. Additionally, they offer preventive properties against various diseases like cancer, heart attack, high blood pressure, depression, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

1. Soybean for weight loss and muscle gain

Which vegetarian food is rich in protein? I am sure approx. 90% of people’s answers will be soybean. Especially for people who don’t eat meat can eat soya for protein since 100 g of soybean contains 36.5 g of proteins [1].

The first check for bodybuilders of aspirants of muscle gainers is the amount of protein particular food contains; here, raw soybean contains 4 g higher protein than the amount of protein 100 g of chicken has, i.e., 31g [2]. Moreover, there is scientific evidence that soybean consumption promotes muscle development [3, 4]. Hence the most important criteria are fulfilled.

Coming back to weight loss, soybean aids in weight loss since it is high in fiber along with protein, low levels of saturated fat, etc., which accelerates and increases the duration of the feeling of fullness, hence decreasing the consumption of unnecessary extra calories. In fact, the phytochemicals like isoflavones also have beneficial roles in weight loss [6]. The phytochemicals and antioxidants also increase the quality of eating [5].

2. Lentils

Lentils are another excellent source of protein. The 100 g of lentils contain 24.6 g of protein, 10.7 g of fiber, Iron (6.51 mg), folate (479 mcg), etc., The rich nutritional profile also makes lentils a favorite for vegans for weight loss, muscle gain, and good health [7]. The lentils have slowly digestible carbohydrates, high fiber, protein, and moderate energy density contents, which becomes beneficial for weight control [8].

In fact, it is a good option for vegans. Further, People with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or consultation, diabetes, and digestive problems can use lentils. Lentils also protect from cancer and diabetes and also help in reducing cholesterol [9].

3. Curd Greek yogurt

The curd or Greek yogurts are famous throughout the world. It is widely known that resistance training and milk and/or whey protein have the potential to optimize body composition and increase muscle size in adult males and females.

Although yogurt differs from milk in terms of consistency and contains bacterial culture yet contains higher protein content which supports muscle [10].

Yogurt is also involved in body weight control and energy homeostasis, as you replace less healthy foods in your diet and nutrients like calcium and protein to lower the glycemic load and control appetite [11].

Curd has 10.2 g of protein in 100g [12], and the bacterial culture helps to work as a probiotic, which promotes healthy digestion, improves the immunity system, works as an anti-aging tool, and also makes your bones stronger [13].

4. Chickpeas

In India, it is called Chana. The chickpeas per 100g have higher dietary protein (20.3g), fiber (12.2 g), calcium (57 mg), iron (4.31 mg), magnesium, vitamins A, E, and C, folate, etc. [14]; hence the great source of vegetarian and vegan protein.

Moreover, research has shown that chickpeas have a beneficial role in weight management and insulin regulation, promoting heart health and preventing constipation [15].

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5. Paneer

Is paneer a good source of protein? So the answer is yes, paneer can be a great source of protein for vegetarians. Earlier, conventional dairy paneer was available, but nowadays, different types of paneer are found, such as soy paneer, filled paneer, vegetable-impregnated paneer, low-fat paneer, and UF paneer. Each one has its characteristic nutritional values, taste, and importance. On average, buffalo milk (3.5% fat) paneer contains 18.43g of proteins, and Cow milk (3.5%) paneer contains 20.93 g protein [16].

The high protein is why it is popular among bodybuilders and weight loss aspirants to get the feeling of satiety.

This is another dish made from cow’s milk and buffalo’s milk. It is also known as Indian Paneer. Adding paneer to your diet provides you with 14 grams of protein and protects you from cancer risk, healing your digestive system, being good for diabetics, and helping you in your weight loss cycle.

6- Seeds: pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds

Seeds are rich sources of fiber and polyunsaturated fats, especially Omega-3 fatty which

Other than Omega-3, seeds are also a good source of protein; for instance, per 100g of flaxseeds contain 20 g of protein, chia seeds contains 16.5 g of protein, and pumpkin seeds contain 30.2 g of protein[17, 18, 19], which is high enough to contribute to your every day dietary requirements.

Moreover, the presence of zinc in all three seeds helps in burning fat and hence weight loss [20]. The protein hyperaminoacidemia is the building block and triggers an increase in muscle protein synthesis and net protein balance [21].


Although all the foods are vegetarian sources, they are still high in protein and fiber, which helps in weight loss and muscle gain. These food, such as paneer, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, chickpeas, curd, lentils, and soybean, are an excellent source of other micronutrients and vitamins which helps in the prevention of other disease like type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, IBS, etc.

Note- Excess of anything can have a bad effect on your body, and it would be preferred to have these foods in moderation and consult your nutritionist or doctor, as everybody has different effects.

Written by

Sobin S. Gupta (MSc)

Sobin S. Gupta is a multifaceted professional—nutritionist, researcher, writer, and diabetes educator. She founded "Nutrition Meet," dedicated to educating the community on preventing and curing chronic diseases. With a passion for health and wellness, Sobin empowers individuals to take control of their well-being through informed dietary choices.

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