Created by Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian, the Flexitarian diet promises both short and long-term weight loss, along with many health benefits and even extend your life. Becoming a flexible vegetarian may be the right choice both in losing weight and preventing disease, according to Blatner’s 2010 book “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life”.
Find out more about the basics of this diet before deciding if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle.
Pros of the Flexitarian Diet
In the Flexitarian diet book, you’ll find plenty of recipes and guidelines that help you tailor this way of eating to your lifestyle. While you should cut back on meat, this isn’t a diet that will leave you hungry.
It’s Very Flexible
One of the major pros of the Flexitarian diet is just how adaptable it is. Stick to the major guidelines, that include less protein from animal sources, along with 300 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 500 for dinner, and 150 for snacks, and you can swap recipes and pick what you want to eat every day as part of the initial 5 week plan.
Doesn’t Restrict Any Food Groups
Even if the Flexitarian diet can easily turn vegetarian, meat is not off limits. Instead, the diet focuses on the addition of a few food groups: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, “new meat” (everything from tofu and beans to eggs and seeds), dairy, and sugar and spice (less sugar, more agave nectar sweetener).
Delivers on Short and Long-Term Weight Loss
If you except both quick results and sustainable weight loss, then you’ll be happy to learn both are among the pros of the Flexitarian diet. Eating more plant protein will lead to dropping pounds, while still being satisfied with your meals, thanks to extra fiber.
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Has Many Health Benefits
A mostly vegetarian diet delivers all the health benefits, while still allowing you to indulge in meat occasionally. You can choose your own pace, but even the smallest change will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Easy to Follow and Convenient
One of the biggest pros of the Flexitarian diet is that sticking to the guidelines and calorie recommendations gets the job done. You can choose from a wide variety of Flexitarian diet recipes and set your own pace. Eating out is also allowed as long as you stick to the rules.
Cons of the Flexitarian Diet
The nature of this diet might end up working against it for dieters who need a lot of structure. Exercising is also important, so if you’re sedentary, consider the Flexitarian diet more of a lifestyle change.
Heavy on Fruits and Vegetables
If you’re a carnivore, this may be one of the biggest cons of the Flexitarian diet. Slowly replacing animal protein with plant protein may prove difficult, but the overall health and weight loss benefits make this one of the more convenient diets.
Might Get Difficult If You Don’t Cook
You’ll find plenty of Flexitarian diet recipes, both in the book and online, but if your lifestyle entails eating out all the time, it could get tricky to follow the guidelines correctly and constantly.
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Flexibility Might Mean Slow Progress
If you need structure in your weight loss plan, the flexibility of this diet plan might actually turn into one of the cons of the Flexitarian diet. While the book offers plenty of tips to help you stay motivated, skirting the rules might mean delayed progress in your weight loss.
You’ll Probably Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Even if you’ll be spending about the same on groceries, by avoiding buying too much meat, Dawn Jackson Blatner recommends a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement to go with the diet.
Exercising Is a Must
One of the cons of the Flexitarian diet is that results are only guaranteed with 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. If you prefer intense workouts, you’ll need at least three 20 minute sessions per week. However, the lifestyle change is flexible and you’re free to choose how much time and energy you’re willing to invest in working out.