Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Weight loss is about finding the right balance

THE classic energy balance paradigm is rather straightforward. Weight gain occurs if energy intake exceeds energy expenditure

THE classic energy balance paradigm is rather straightforward. Weight gain occurs if energy intake exceeds energy expenditure. Therefore, weight loss occurs if energy expenditure exceeds energy intake. Sounds easy, right?

However, recent studies suggest the type of calorie you consume (carbohydrate, protein, fat) has a significant effect on the amount, body weight change, and nature (body composition change) of the body weight alteration. According to a recent review by the US journal of medicine, individuals may improve body composition to a greater extent on a restricted carbohydrate diet compared to standard weight-loss diets. The classic energy balance theory should be re-examined and perhaps the notion of “counting calories” as part of a weight-loss or weight-gain strategy is too simplistic at best. In a study published recently, investigators had 12 healthy normal men switch from their habitual diet (48 per cent carbohydrate) to a ketogenic or carbohydrate-restricted diet (eight per cent carbohydrate).

They remained on this diet for six weeks. Fat mass decreased by 3.4kg, whereas lean body mass increased 1.1kg. Furthermore insulin resistance decreased with a significant rise in total thyroxine which basically means the thyroid was more active helping them to lose weight. Thus, without a change in total energy intake, subjects lost body fat, gained lean body mass, and experienced a reduction in total weight.

Studies have looked at the affect of altering the ratios of carbohydrates, protein and fat. One study took a typical western diet, 50 per cent carbs, 16 per cent protein, 34 per cent fat, against a diet of 41 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein, 29 per cent fat. The higher protein groups lost more weight, preserved more lean muscle mass and lowered cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

These studies have in common that when carbohydrate is monitored or reduced there is a change in body composition. It may be argued about how much we actually need, but there seems to be an average result of around 40 per cent or lower that is going to help you achieve your desired body shape.

The typical Western diet of cereal based grains, and cakes needs to evolve. The importance of more lean protein in our lives is to support your immune system as well. In the study above subjects who had a higher grain-based or carbohydrate diet were more at risk for the likes of diabetes, colds and flu as well as other inflammatory diseases.

Start to look at your plate every time you eat and make simple changes. Instead of two pieces of toast have one egg and one piece of toast, soup and bread could be soup with torn bits of chicken, without bread. Dinner could be fish or steak with vegetables and vary the colour of them each time, and reduce the pasta or rice.

The take home message is to up your protein intake and lower your carbohydrate to achieve your desired shape and weight. Do not go on crash diets, which will give you no energy. Get a plan which works for you and that you can stick to.

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