Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nutrition Basics to Lose Body Fat

I was counseling a friend on the basics of nutrition to lose body fat and decided to share some of it here. This is personalized for her, based on her body, but the basic principles apply to most people.

The first strategy to lose body fat is to get rid of the empty Calories, specifically, refined carbs and sugars (a teaspoon of sugar has 15 calories). These foods don't provide any nutrition, and don't make you feel full, so you eat a lot of them. Even if they are marketed as "Low Fat" they are not a good choice for your diet if you want to lose body fat. You should choose to get your carbohydrates from fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Carbs should make up about 40-50% of your daily calories.

Secondly, dietary fat has gotten a bad rap recently. But, dietary fat doesn't make you fat. It is when you get excessive calories of any kind, that fat is stored or carbs are stored as fat. Dietary fat is actually, good in a few ways. First, it provides some essential fatty acids, that the body needs, and second, it makes you feel full so you don't go back and eat more food in two hours. So, feel free to keep it in your diet, including some saturated fat, especially if it allows you to get a good amount of protein in your diet (id est, eggs).

Protein is king. That means it is the nutrient that you should strive to eat with each meal. It is valuable for rebuilding muscle. It, like fat, keeps you feeling full. I recommended 75 grams per day for my friend. Ideally, you (she) would consume 15 grams of protein in five meals over the course of the day. Examples of protein sources and amounts include: 4oz chicken breast: 21 grams, 8oz of milk: 8 grams, and tablespoon of peanut butter: 6grams. So, you can find it in various meat and animal sources. You have to make an effort to get it in every meal. You could always supplement your diet with protein shakes or bars, too, if you don't have healthy options available.

Have any other questions? Feel free to post in the comments.

No comments: