LOW FAT? LOW CARB? KETO? PALEO?
With so many new diets claiming to be the “BEST DIET” to lose weight, it’s no wonder most people FAIL?!
So the big question: WHAT IS THE BEST DIET TO LOSE WEIGHT FAST???????
Well…..it DEPENDS, let’s discuss the details.
When it comes down to losing weight your nutrition is the MOST important factor. Regardless of whether you are going to the gym daily, consistently, and your training is on point if you don’t have a proper nutrition plan in action you are most likely NOT going to see big changes in your body.
But now with all these diet methods like keto, paleo, low-carb, etc. it’s not only overwhelming but it makes it even more difficult and complicated to implement a proper nutrition plan to lose weight.
The Real Truth
Whether it be Low-carb, keto, paleo, and so on the truth is that all these diet methods are meant to work the EXACT SAME WAY.
All of these diet methods achieve weight loss by causing you to eat at CALORIC DEFICIT. Eating at a caloric deficient simply means you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning.
The only difference between all of these diet methods is that these diet methods all have DIFFERENT psychological and physiological effects on the body.
So when it comes to weight loss NONE of these diet methods are superior to one another because none of these methods have a SPECIAL WEIGHT LOSS effect. The main incentive of these diet methods is to simply make it EASIER for you to eat fewer calories while helping you feel more satisfied.
So, in reality, the BEST DIET for weight loss is the one you are more likely to ENJOY.
If you stick to a diet plan that you love and enjoy you are more likely to remain CONSISTENT. Remaining consistent is key when it comes to weight loss because changes happen over time not from one day to another. So stick to a diet you are more likely to stick with and follow.
For example, if you love avocado, nuts, and seeds look into the keto diet. Maybe you love your carbs and you can’t see yourself living without potatoes and rice, look into a lower-fat diet etc. It all comes down to what you enjoy and what would work best for you and your lifestyle.
Implementing a healthier way to nourish your body should be your main goal that’s why it’s important to think beyond the pounds you plan to lose and not just implement a crazy crash diet. That’s one of the main reason many people lose weight and gain it all back within months.
Important Factors to Consider
Regardless of what diet plan you choose, it’s important for you to consider several factors that come in to play that you will need to get right in order to achieve weight loss.
These factors include:
- Total calories
In order to lose weight, you need to eat a caloric deficit. In other words, you need to burn more calories than you consume, this is when the MAGIC HAPPENS!
Step 1: Determine your deficient calories
A good starting point formula is simply: bodyweight (lbs.) x 13
Although this formula won’t be spot on with everyone because we all have different activity levels, this is a good starting point. Eventually, you can adjust this number according to your overall progress and results.
If you are not familiar with calories or portion sizes I highly recommend for you to track your calories UNTIL you start getting comfortable and familiar.
It’s important to pay close attention to the calories you are consuming daily as this is vital for your progress. Tracking calories can also help you spot any patterns that might be hindering your progress.
High protein diets have continually been shown to induce a sustained reduction in appetite. A study was conducted to test the overall effects of macronutrients and satiety in both males and females. As a result, individuals who consumed a high-protein meal expressed stronger feelings of fullness and a less of a desire to continue eating compared to the placebo group.
Protein plays a major role in maintaining muscle and helps keep you full throughout the day. While on a caloric deficit, protein is the macronutrient you want to keep the most track of.
How much Protein Shall you Intake?
According to a study by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, recommends a protein intake of 0.7g – 1g protein/lb./day during weight loss.
Protein Intake Formula: Bodyweight (lbs.) / 0.8 or 1
Personally, I find that consuming (1g/lb.) has its benefits because protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Especially when restricting calories, protein will keep you feeling fuller longer.
FAT & CARBS
According to a clinical trial done in more than 600 individuals, who either applied a low-carb or a low-fat diet found that weight loss was not significantly different during a 12-month weight loss trail.
However, it is important to note that fat intake provides essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins beneficial for your health. Therefore, your diet should provide a moderate amount of fat. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a range of 0.3- 0.5g of fat/lb. Women, seem to best benefit from the higher end of this range.
On that note, adjust your fat and carbohydrate intake based on what YOU ENJOY the most. So if you enjoy nuts, avocados, etc. aim for a higher fat range intake, but if you love your carbs stick with the lower end of the recommended fat intake range as long as your fat intake does not fall below the recommended amount.
Macronutrient Calories per Gram
Example: How to Calculate a Caloric Deficient Nutrition Plan
To get give you a better idea, I will use myself as an example to set up a diet based on what we previously discussed:
Total Calories: 130 x 13 = 1,690 calories per day
Protein: 130 x 1 = 130g per day (130g x 4 = 520 calories, protein contains 4 calories per gram)
Fat: 130 x 0.5 = 65g per day (65g x 9 = 585 calories, fat contains 9 calories per gram)
Carbs: (Calories left) 1690 total calories (–)520 calories from protein(–) 585 calories from fat = 585 calories from carbs/ 4 = 146g carbs, carbs contain 4 calories per gram
GOAL: 1690 total calories: 130g of protein/ 65g of fat/ 146g of carbs
To sum it all up, in order to lose weight I need to consume 130g of protein, 65g of fat, and 146g of carbs consuming a total of 1,690 calories per day.
After figuring out HOW much you need to consume, the next thing to think about is WHAT you need to consume in order to get the most out of your nutrition.
Some things to Consider
1. Limit Sugar
There has been numerous studies showing the relationship between high sugar intake and excess abdominal fat. Sugar raises up insulin levels in the body causing and promoting the fat storage, especially in the mid-section.
Avoid or LIMIT: Soda/soft drinks, candies, processed baked goods
Foods high in sugar not only contain empty calories but they are also hard for the body to digest. So try to avoid them when possible. Everything in moderation!
2.Limit Refine Carbs
While you can eat carbs while trying to lose fat, you want to pay attention to the TYPE of carbs you are consuming.
Try to reduce refined carbs like white flour, white bread, pasta, some breakfast cereals, and pastries.
Refined carbs are processed and the whole grain is no longer intact. Thus removing benefits such as fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
The problem with refined carbs is that they digest quickly causing unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. This causes your bloodstream to become flooded with sugar which in return causes an insulin surge to clear the sugar levels from your blood.
According to a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that whole and refined grain foods may influence fat distribution. They found that a higher intake of refined carbs is associated with higher visceral adipose tissue in the abdomen compared to whole grain foods.
So when possible opt processed refined carbs with whole grain carbs.
4. Eat More Fiber
There was a study that found whole grain foods high in fiber help prevent weight gain by increasing appetite control though producing a delay in carbohydrate absorption.
So consuming a diet high in fiber will help you control your appetite thus promoting fat loss. Therefore, focus on consuming an adequate amount of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
Example of high fiber foods: oatmeal, flax seed, beans, apples, peas, and citrus fruits
With these considerations in mind, in order to maximize the number of nutrients I take in from my diet, I have put together some of my main diet goals to help me achieve optimal nutrition and health.
Goal 1: Stick to whole foods and limit processed food as much as possible
Not only do whole foods keep me feeling fuller for a longer period of time but eating whole foods allow you to eat more, all thanks to calorie density. For example, look at the picture below both meals contain the same amount of calories but look at how MUCH MORE you can eat when you stick to whole foods versus processed food.
Goal 2: Eat Fruits and Vegetables with all meals
It’s important for me to always eat fruits and vegetables with all my meals as this helps me meet my micronutrients and prevents any fiber deficiencies. And because fruits and vegetables are high in fiber they help keep me feeling fuller and more satisfied after eating a meal.
Goal 3: Meet calorie and macronutrient numbers
Yes, it’s possible to gain weight even if you are just consuming WHOLE foods. That’s why its important for me to hit my calories and macronutrient numbers based on the numbers we previously discussed GOAL: 1690 total calories: 130g of protein/ 65g of fat/ 146g of carbs.
To best meet these numbers I like to evenly split all my meals. For example, I like to eat 4 times a day so each meal will consist of 33g protein, 16g fat, 37g carbs, a total of 420 calories per meal. To get these numbers I simply divided my target calories and macronutrients by 4.
So now that I know HOW much and WHAT I need to be consuming, let’s take a look of what a typical day of eating looks like for me after putting these numbers in action.
Meal 1: Breakfast
Meal 2: Lunch
Meal 3: Mid-day Lunch
Meal 4: Dinner
There you have it, a full day of eating!
SIDE NOTE: My meals look pretty much the same every day — I know boring! But that’s what I find works best for me just because I am short on time. I will slightly vary my meals by switching up the types of fruits and vegetables I eat or I’ll opt sweet potatoes for regular white potatoes or rice but nothing major.
Anyways, I hope that gives you some insight on how to put together your nutrition plan and how to go about it. Remember the best diet to lose weight is the one you are most likely to enjoy, to create a diet based on your goals and incorporate the foods you personally enjoy the most.