“I’m on a diet!” This is what we usually hear from people who want to lose weight. But what diet is effective in losing weight?
Starvation diet is definitely a No! No! Our body needs food to produce energy so we can do our daily activities. The nutrients we get from food including fats and carbohydrates are important in maintaining the physiologic function of the body. However, these nutrients become bad for the body when they are taken in excess. The nutrients, if not converted to energy are stored in the body as fat deposits, thus the appearance of the undesirable belly fat and love handles. A balanced diet comprising all these nutrients as well as protein, vitamins and minerals, and calcium should be supplied to the body through the food we eat. This article shares some weight loss diet tips for men and women of all ages
The role of fat in a weight loss diet
Fats are an essential food nutrient because they provide twice the amount of energy than carbohydrates and proteins, and they help in protecting body organs and tissues and maintaining the body temperature.
Fats= 9 calories
Carbohydrates= 4 calories
Protein= 4 calories
CAUTION: Too much fat can be very harmful to the body. Excess fat do not only form the bulges on your body but it could also clog the arteries of the heart causing myocardial infarction or heart attack.
What is a low-fat diet?
Low- Fat diet has been promoted by the US Department of Health since the late 1970’s. But what does low- fat diet really mean?
Basically, there are three types of fat: The Saturated fat which is the Bad fat because it increases the blood cholesterol level, The Polyunsaturated fat that decreases the blood cholesterol level, and the Monounsaturated fat which decreases the Low- density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or the “bad cholesterol”.
Low- fat diet means: decreasing the consumption of food that contains saturated fat while increasing the consumption of food that contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Food like most meat and dairy products, butter, and tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil should be avoided as they are high in saturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat are usually found in plant food sources such as corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower. Food sources for Monounsaturated fat includes olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, and some fruits like avocado.
Carbohydrates are bad or good?
Carbohydrates provides real-time energy in the body and should account for 50- 60% of the total calories we take in everyday. However, with sedentary lifestyle, the calories you get from carbohydrates that are supposed to be converted to real-time energy are stored as fat deposits, thus you gain weight.
Low –carb diets are among the most popular weight loss diets. There are many variations like:
The Anabolic Diet which alternates low carb and periods of high carb eating
Carbohydrate addicts which serves 2 meals with no carbs and 1 meal of 1/3 carb a day
Ketogenic Diet which eliminates carbohydrate completely and compensates the caloric need with high fat and moderate protein intake.
But as per definition, having less than 50-60% of carb ratio in a serving is low carb diet. If your goal is to maintain your current weight, do take in moderate carb which is about 40-50% carb in your diet. And if you want to lose weight, you may go with low- carb diet which contains 25-39% carb. Lower than this is not really recommended as it could cause conditions like ketosis, presence of ketone bodies in the blood. Very high ketone level can make the blood acidic and may damage organs like the liver and the kidneys.
Some weight loss diet tips that can help eat healthier are:
- Instead of eating ice cream, have a low fat yogurt or sherbet.
- Use skim milk (fat- free milk) instead of whole milk.
- Instead of eating pasta alfredo (white sauce pasta) eat pasta marinara (red sauce pasta).
- You may substitute bacon with lean ham.
- Since the American Heart Association recommends avoiding coconut oil because it contains 85- 90% saturated fat, use olive oil or canola oil when cooking food.
- Chocoholics may eat dark chocolate which is rich in anti-oxidant rather than a milk chocolate.
- Use beef loin instead of brisket
- Instead of white bread eat whole grain bread such as wheat bread
- Snack on Peaches (61 calories/pc.), blackberries (62 calories/serving), and carrot sticks (52 calories/cup) instead of fried chips.
Being overweight or obese doesn’t only place a person at risk from developing diseases like diabetes, respiratory diseases, cancer, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular diseases but it could also affect one’s emotional and social life. People who are overweight and obese could suffer from low self-esteem, depression, and impaired body image. Because of this, more and more people are being conscious of their weight. Losing weight is a tough challenge; you must be really committed as lifestyle changes should be made.