Over the years, I have worked with many people who have told me their diet was vegetable based. However, on closer examination, it was anything but. Most often, they were getting most of their calories from either nuts, fruits, or starches (starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans).
Here is why.
The basis of a diet is what compromises most of it. In the world of nutrition, the deciding factor in dietary intake is calories and not the weight, or volume or servings of food consumed. Hence, the food or food group or type of food that contributes the largest percentage of calories to the total calorie intake will form the basis of that diet. This is the accepted standard in the world of nutrition.
These days we hear a lot about plant based diets. What this refers to is that most of the calories in the diet, comes from plants.
In the plant based diet world, we also hear terms like “starch” based, “nut” based, “fruit” based and “vegetable” based. A starch based diet is one where the majority of the calories will come from starches (whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes). As such, if someone is on a nut based diet, then the majority of their calories will come from nuts.
In addition, if someone was on a “vegetable” based diet, the majority of the calories will come from vegetables. However, because the calorie density of vegetables is so low, many who think they are following a vegetable based diet aren’t and are actually following something completely different. Most often, they are actually following a fruit based, nut based or even a starch based diet, without even realizing it.