Vegan Foods That Cause Weight Gain

Although they may be vegan, these following foods are often responsible for unwanted weight gain on a plant-based diet. Find out what foods to avoid and what foods to eat for health and weight loss!

Here is a video I made for this topic if you prefer learning with a video format! You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here if you want!

Refined Carbohydrates (Sugar & Flour)

Refined sugar and flour products spike blood sugar and cause fats in your diet, even healthy ones, to be stored as body fat.

A diet high in refined carbohydrates also prevents body fat from being burned for energy because these simple carbs are plentiful in calories.

Refined carbohydrate foods that spike blood sugar, and prevent weight loss include:


-Fruit juices







-Vegan icecream

Refined Oils

Refined oils come from plants that have been stripped of their natural fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and nutrients.

This leaves behind a product that is not satiating, high in calories, and can disrupt hormones, all of which can lead to weight gain.

Be careful eating out at restaurants frequently as meals often contain oils. When you’re cooking at home, try out recipes that are oil-free. Be sure to check packaged food ingredients and try get your sources of fat from whole plant foods (avocados, nuts, seeds, plant milks, coconut, etc.)

Some common oils to avoid are:

-Olive oil

-Vegetable oil (canola oil)

-Coconut oil

-Sesame oil

-Peanut oil

-Corn oil

Vegan Cheeses & Mock Meats

We all love a good veggie burger, a grilled cheese sandwich, cream cheese pasta… and thanks to forward-thinking food companies, we vegans can enjoy these foods in an ethical way.

However many of these meat and dairy substitutes contain refined oils, additives, and sodium which can cause weight gain.

Always look at the label and try to find products that use mostly whole food ingredients, and are not ridiculously high in oil and salt. While these products can be enjoyed as occasional treats, there are so many healthier homemade recipes that you can eat on a regular basis and stay lean.

Popular recipes on this blog include:

Vegan Cheese That Melts

Vegan Cream Cheese

Vegan Cottage Cheese

Easy Vegan Burger

Raw Vegan Burger

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Vegan Mac N’ Cheese

...and more!

High Fat & High Carb Whole Food Combos

If you reduce refined sugar, oil, mock meat and cheese in your diet, you are on the right track to preventing weight gain and promoting healthy weight loss.

However, it is not impossible to gain weight on a whole foods plant based diet. Frequent consumption of high carbohydrate and high fat foods together may result in weight gain.

Examples include: dried fruit and nuts, potatoes and guacamole, rice and coconut milk curry, oatmeal and peanut butter, hummus with tahini.

Now, please understand that ALL these combos mentioned are healthy when consumed in moderation. It is only when you are eating them in large quantities all the time that you may gain weight. Luckily, whole foods have a helpful way of telling you “That’s enough, you’re full”, so just be sure to listen for that signal so you won’t overeat.


Many forms of alcohol are vegan but they all have the potential to cause weight gain if overindulged in.

One way is by spiking blood sugar, creating inflammation, and upsetting hormones. Another is the munchies during a night of drinking or the hang-over the next day that may cause you to eat foods that are unhealthy.

Alcohol consumption could explain unwanted weight gain and reducing drinking can help improve your health.


Lastly, coffee and other caffeinated beverages can cause weight gain by increasing cortisol, a stress hormone.

Cortisol has been shown to increase the likelihood of fat being stored in the stomach area.

Caffeine can temporarily suppress appetite. However when this effect wears off, hunger can strike back with vengeance and a person may be more likely to eat binge eat or simply make unhealthy food choices.

If this sounds like your relationship with coffee, consider switching to decaf or tea to see if this helps.

Mindfully Eat Whole Plant Foods and Prosper!

A plant-based diet based around whole foods, and low in alcohol and caffeine is a great way to lose weight and to stay healthy long term.

For more advice on losing weight on a plant-based diet, check out my articles:

5 Tips For Fast Weight Loss On A Vegan Diet

6 Tips To Stop Binge Eating On A Vegan Diet

9 Best Foods For Vegan Health & Weight Loss