Weight Management Tips

As more and more research becomes available, we begin to realize that there are some fundamentals we cannot escape:
It is ultimately the total caloric intake and the diet duration that matters the most, regardless of the macronutrient composition. With regards to weight loss, a 1,500-kcal per day high-fat diet, a 1,500-kcal low-carbohydrate diet and a 1,500-kcal high-protein diet are about equally effective. A calorie is a calorie. It is like asking whether a sum of 500 U.S. dollars is worth more than an equivalent amount of British pounds.
While there is not much difference in terms of weight loss between diets with various macronutrient compositions as long as the caloric values are equalized, macronutrient compositions do make a difference in terms of health and function. For example, a high-fat diet increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, while a top endurance athlete would not be able to perform well on a very low-carbohydrate diet, as carbohydrates are the main energy source in intensive endurance sports.
If you are limiting your caloric intake (with say a 1200 calorie diet), it makes sense to choose a diet with a macronutrient composition that will give you a lot of bulk (and hence make you feel fuller) while being low in calories, i.e. foods with a low energy density, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grain cereals (whole grain cereals are high in non-starch polysaccharides). This means foods with high nutrient densities, such as oily foods, should be kept to a minimum in order not to bust your calorie limit or dietary budget for the day.
Because of the high energy density of fat, reducing your fat intake is an effective way of reducing the total caloric intake.
Human physiology is very complex and our bodies require many macronutrients and micronutrients to function optimally. Hence, it is not good to cut out any nutrient totally, not even fat. This is why mainstream dietitians advocate a balanced and wholesome diet. Data from the National Weight Control Registry has shown that individuals who have lost an average of 30.5 kg and maintained a loss of more than 13.5 kg for an average of 5.5 years consumed approximately 24% of their energy from fat, 19% from protein and 56% from carbohydrates.
Our bodies are smart (they need to be, otherwise we would not be around today) and, if any macronutrient is lacking, we develop a specific craving for that macronutrient. For example, those who have been on the Atkins diet will attest to cravings for carbohydrates. Cravings make it difficult to adhere to diets and a balanced diet minimizes the risk of developing specific cravings.
The total daily caloric intake should be evenly distributed throughout the day (e.g. three regular meals a day). Meals should be just heavy enough such that you do not need to snack in between meals. Skipping meals is a bad idea as it makes you so hungry that, at the next meal, you will tend to overeat, increasing your total intake for the day. Or worse still, you may succumb to snacking before the next meal.
Very low-calorie diets (VLCDs) are less than 800 kcal per day. They result in short-term weight loss, but long-term weight loss is not improved as it is difficult, if at all possible, to sustain such a low intake over the long term. VLCDs may be useful as a short-term (up to 6 months) intervention to lose weight, but ultimately the dietary change has to be a sustainable one in order to avoid weight regain.
VLCDs should be avoided by adults with BMI less than 27.5 kg-m 2, by children or younger adolescents, by people more than 65 years old, by pregnant or breastfeeding women and by anyone with significant medical, psychiatric or eating disorders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *