In my last blog post I outlined the importance of treating our dietary changes as only ONE aspect of the four pillars to our health. These changes should be lifelong behaviours rather than searching for a quick fix.
However the scientific evidence of the most appropriate changes to our diet can guide us in our journey for weight loss and better health.
When we start to look at these studies, some interesting patterns appear as to the most successful ways to lose weight…..
First of all, it is pretty much common sense that to lose weight we need to be burning more energy than we consume. However, our food choices can change our regulation of the way we burn our fuel and also make it harder or easier to adhere to a diet long term.
Over the last ten years there have been numerous trials and systematic reviews comparing low fat diets and low carbohydrate diets.
One thing that stood out to me was that more people were able to stick to diets which lower the carbohydrate content compared to those that lower the fat content.
Being the person I am, I wanted to break down these diets, which included those such as the low carb diet, along with high protein diets, Mediterranean diets and low fat diets. I broke these down into their principle macronutrients: fat, carbohydrate and protein, to find out whether these energy sources play a pivotal role in weight loss.
This is what I found:
- Diets that restricted carbohydrate the most gave the greatest weight loss.
- Diets that allowed for more protein were more successful in losing weight.
- and, there appears to be no relationship what-so-ever between the amount we restrict our fat intake and weight loss.
These factors can all be explained hormonally, mainly through insulin and ghrelin but that’s for another blog. In the meantime the below principles should go a long way to help you with your weight loss attempts:
- Keep your carbohydrate intake to mainly non-starchy vegetables as much as possible. Try and reduce the amount of starchy vegetables (eg. potato), and grain based carbohydrates (especially in very processed forms such as white flour) to a small amount. Certainly cut right back on sugar and products that contain it.
- Aim to get some form of protein with every meal. Keep these to a small amount (such as the size of your palm) but make sure it is consistent as protein helps signal your body that it is full better than the other macronutrients. High protein foods include unprocessed meats, fish, chicken, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Don’t be so concerned about restricting your fat intake but rather focus on the good fats. These include omega 3’s found in oily fish, and monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, and oils found in nuts and seeds. Stay away from trans fatty acids (deep fried food) and be conscious of your intake of saturated fats (found mainly in animal products).
These key principles are what the science is indicating to us as the best ways to lose weight.
If you want to learn more, and live close to Adelaide, South Australia, we are having a seminar on weight loss at the end of the month. You can click here to learn more.