No Appetite As a Vegan? 4 Reasons You’re Not Hungry

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Studying appetite accurately is fairly difficult to do, so there’s not a lot of research about it.

However, having a lack of appetite as a vegan, particularly a new vegan, is a commonly reported problem.

So while I can’t give you any clear answers from research, I can summarize the most common things that cause a limited appetite in vegans.

Vegans Typically Eat Way More Volume

When you first go vegan you’ll likely find that in order to eat the same amount of calories as you did before, you have to eat a lot more.

Vegetables are not calorie dense, and yet filling. Similarly, foods like beans have a lot of fiber and water content, and even a small amount will keep you full for a while.

For example, look at how much of each food below you would need to eat to get 100 calories:

Food Grams to get 100 calories
Beans 76
Carrots 227
Lettuce 667

Compare those to something like cheese, where you get 100 calories in just 27 grams.

If your body isn’t used to eating a high volume of food, it’s going to be a struggle to eat as many calories as you did. Great if you want to lose weight, but not great otherwise.

If this is your problem, try to focus on more calorie-dense foods like nuts (here are the highest calorie vegan foods), and reduce high fiber foods for a bit. Your body should adapt after a few weeks.

SUMMARY

Count your calories and see if you’re eating enough, which is a common problem for new vegans. If so, start eating more nuts, seeds, and grains, which are calorie-dense until you get used to eating a higher volume of food.

Eating Healthier Will Reduce Your Appetite

This is not specific to being vegan.

For similar reasons to the ones above, whole foods are a lot more filling than junk foods:

  • More fiber
  • Less sugar
  • Higher water content

Additionally, eating a lot of processed foods and sugars essentially ruins proper appetite control. It’s why you can eat a bag of chips and still be hungry.

A lot of people who go vegan all of a sudden start eating healthier. The hormones that control your appetite start to “reset” to normal sensitivity levels, and of course your appetite goes down compared to what it used to be.

This can be fine, especially if you’re overweight.

The only times it’s an issue is if you’re having trouble eating enough to maintain a healthy weight.

SUMMARY

If you’re used to eating a lot of junk food and are now eating healthier as a vegan, it will affect your appetite. However, it should not suppress your appetite to a point where you reach an unhealthy weight.

Stress Can Affect Appetite Levels

Being vegan is stressful.

It’s natural to worry about what you’ll eat when you go out, how other people will react, and so on.

It’s also stressful to now recognize so clearly how many animals are suffering at any given moment.

Things like stress and depression can drastically lower appetite.

I wish I could give you an easy answer to fix these problems, but they’re issues that every vegan needs to work through individually. That being said, if there’s anyone you can talk to for support (even an online group), it may be very helpful.

SUMMARY

Many people think about eating when they are bored, which drives their appetites. If your mind is elsewhere now that your vegan, it can affect appetite. Try getting support, or even try meditating to be more mindful.

It Could Be Completely Unrelated to Being Vegan

After you go vegan, it’s easy to question if any little thing is caused by being vegan.

In reality, a lot of physical ailments can be unrelated to being vegan.

You might have a cold or the flu, or some other issue that’s causing your lack of appetite.

That’s why if it’s not obvious why your appetite is non-existent, and you’re seeing negative side effects, you need to go see a doctor.

There could be something serious underlying that needs to be addressed.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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