Somone asked me what to do against constant hunger on a vegan diet. When I read this I was surprised that this was a serious question. Just eat more! is what everybody would say, including me. But it ain’t that simple. There are several factors that contribute to increased hunger on a vegan diet.
Let’s go through them!
Fruits and vegetables are less calorie-dense than animal products
In the following image all plates have the same amount of calories – 200 kcal.
As you can see you require a much larger amount of fruit / vegetables to get in those 200 kcal compared to high-fat foods such as bacon, sausages, dairy products, sweets or fried foods. The obvious conclusion: You will have to eat a LOT more food when you switch to a healthy, whole foods plant based diet. But not MORE as in calories but as in weight. A lot more. Especially if you enter the high carb realm ?
2. Fruits and vegetables fill your stomach faster than high-fat foods
And that’s why you are more likely to overeat on a high-fat (standard western!) diet and the other way round – many beginners don’t eat enough when they switch to a high carb vegan diet. They are fooled by the large volume of vegetables which actually consists of mostly fibre and water.
3. Plants are digested much faster than animal products
Because it is natural for us humans to eat plants, unlike animal-derived foods, we digest plant-based foods optimally. Therefore you will find that the time span in which you feel satiated decreases. This is a good thing though! It means that our body does not require so much energy to digest compared to meat eaters. Therefore your energy levels and overall health improve on a vegan diet. On the other hand you will be confused at first whether you are receiving signals of hunger or you’re just becoming aware of how fast your body is able to digest healthy food. Over time, you will be able to better understand the signals your body is sending you. At least it took some time for me ? Now I eat intuitively, but intuitive eating is a skill that needs to be trained like every other skill.
If you’re interested in this topic and want to learn more about how I managed to find out how much food is optimal for me, watch this video where I explain everything in detail: