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Flexitarian Diet

Popular Diets: Flexitarian Diet FoodsMany dieters are becoming increasingly aware of the potential health hazards of eating meat. Red meat in particular can increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Processed meats, such as bacon, are even worse for your health. If you are a diabetic or have been diagnosed with pre diabetes, talk to your doctor about making dietary changes. One diet that has received positive ratings for diabetics is the Flexitarian diet. Flexitarians sometimes call themselves “partial vegetarians” or “occasional vegetarians.” The wide selection of Flexitarian diet foods offers the benefits of a plant-based diet without being quite as restrictive. It is designed not only to improve nutrition and lower health risks, but also to help you achieve your ideal weight.

History of the Flexitarian diet

While doctors have long advised patients to eat more veggies and limit fatty meats, the official Flexitarian philosophy is relatively new. The term is believed to have been coined around 2002. That same year, Time magazine published a survey of 11,000 participants. An impressive 37% of them stated that they considered themselves to have a mostly plant-based diet, with occasional use of animal products. Whether they were aware of the term or not, they were following a Flexitarian meal plan. In addition to the health benefits of reducing the amount of saturated fat in one’s diet, this meal plan is becoming increasingly popular because it is environmentally friendly and promotes animal welfare.

Guidelines of diets that work

Unlike unhealthy fad diets, diets that work provide guidelines that are intended to be followed for life to promote long-term health. The Flexitarian Diet is among the latter category. This meal plan encourages dieters to follow a well-balanced meal plan, with five food groups: fruits and veggies, whole grains, protein, dairy, and sugar and spice. This last category includes items such as salad dressing, dried herbs, and agave nectar sweetener. The protein category includes some animal products, such as eggs, but emphasizes plant-based protein sources like lentils, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds.

A sample Flexitarian diet menu could include:


  • Whole grain cereal
  • Soy milk
  • Berries


  • Black bean soup
  • Salad
  • Whole grain roll


  • Apple with peanut butter


  • Veggie burger
  • Sweet potato wedges

Is it the best way to lose weight?

Clinical studies support the adherence to a plant-based or primarily plant-based diet for weight loss and overall health. On average, vegetarians live about 3.6 years longer than omnivores and weigh about 15% less. This last point was supported by a review of 87 clinical studies, which was published in Nutrition Reviews in 2006. Vegetarians also have a decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Part-time vegetarians can also reap these benefits. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders in 2003 followed 38,000 adults for six years. The study results indicated that partial vegetarianism is indeed beneficial for long-term weight loss. Losing excess weight is one of the best things you can do if you are diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Plus, the fiber in plant-based foods is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Flexitarian diet review

While Flexitarian diet recipes have helped many people manage their diabetes and their waistlines, there are some potential drawbacks to keep in mind. One of the primary issues is that a vegetarian or partially vegetarian diet is not automatically healthy. French fries and onion rings are vegetarian, after all, yet they’re full of saturated and trans fats that clog your arteries and pack on the pounds. To combat this problem, it is essential to carefully craft a meal plan that is low in fat, sodium, and calories, while still providing all of the essential nutrients that your body needs. Dieters should work with a doctor to develop a regimen of Flexitarian diet recipes. It can be difficult to get enough iron and B vitamins purely from plant-based foods, for example.

Although this diet is more flexible than most, some dieters may find it difficult to adhere to. It can require some adjustment to cook primarily plant-based meals when one is accustomed to including a portion of meat with every dinner. Dieters may need to experiment with new Flexitarian diet foods and recipes. It may also require extra planning when dining out.

The best way to lose weight: consult a doctor

Although the Flexitarian menu may help some dieters lose weight and achieve better health, it may not be well-suited for everyone. Plus, those with medical conditions like diabetes are strongly advised to consult a doctor before radically changing their diets.

When you consult a doctor at the Center for Medical Weight Loss, you’ll receive a fully customized diet plan that works for your unique needs and preferences. Diets are not simply “one size fits all” plans; the best way to lose weight on a long-term and sustainable basis is to follow a custom-tailored diet and exercise program developed by a knowledgeable doctor. The doctors at the Center take into consideration your medical conditions, food restrictions, and dietary preferences, and work one-on-one with you to help you achieve long-term weight loss success.

Find a Center near you by entering your zip code in the box. Special offers are available to first-time customers at select locations.

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