what kind of diet should you be on to protect your health and manage your weight?
If you’ve been wondering what ‘diet’ you should follow to manage your weight. Perhaps you’ve been considering the wrong options. Think about nutrition.
It’s time to put the focus onto good nutrition to protect your health and help manage your weight instead.
Nutritionists have been rethinking the healthy eating advice
For a long time, healthy eating advice has told us to reduce fat intake, count calories, and move about more.
And bingo! You’ll be a racing snake.
But even though you followed that advice you never were a racing snake were you?
But now a lot of people are following lower-carb diets to achieve fast weight loss.
That in turn leads us to ask if a low-carb diet is good for your health?
More to the point, can any diet that restricts or limits food groups, be nutritionally balanced?
What are the healthy eating guidelines?
FIRST, THERE WAS THE LOW-FAT REVOLUTION
The advice for people in both the US and UK for many years was to reduce your intake of saturated fats to no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake.
How you measured that is anyone’s guess.
The low-fat advice is based on guidelines first published way back in 1977.
In terms of nutrition and health studies that is a very, very long time ago.
And it’s worthy of note that this advice has not been radically updated as of 2019.
An article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) questioned the nutritional guidance produced in the US in 2015 (it’s revised every 5 years, so it may well change in 2020) because it hadn’t changed much.
That is despite studies published challenging the view of saturated fats.
Saturated fats are no longer the enemy.
what do the recent studies on low-fat diets say
Here’s an interesting fact.
The guidelines for reducing fat in your diet corresponded with the beginning of the obesity crisis in the US.
That appears to be because food companies reacted to the guidance by moving production to low-fat products. But those low-fat products were high in processed carbohydrates and sugars.
Whilst that is true, it can’t be said that the low-fat advice actually caused obesity levels to rise.
They just happened to take place at the same time.
The low-fat advice was based on assumptions that saturated fat is a cause of heart disease and is linked to weight gain.
Studies have since shown no proven link between diets that include high-fat foods and heart disease.
One thing is clear from the research findings that I’ve reviewed. Eating less fat is not the only, or best way, to lose weight.
The bottom line on very low-fat diets for weight loss
It is well documented that an ultra-low-fat diet may help treat serious conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
However, for anyone who doesn’t have a serious health condition, following a strict diet, deficient in fat, is extremely hard in the long run.
That’s because the lack of fats often results in a lack of taste and can leave you feeling hungry.
Fat helps you feel fuller for longer.
For that reason, following a low-fat diet raises the risk that you will have to prepare one meal for yourself and another for the rest of the family.
No one likes eating food that lacks taste and leaves them feeling hungry. So they’re unlikely to want to follow your low-fat diet regime.
If you choose a low-fat diet, you may even have to limit your intake of foods that have recently been proven to have health benefits. Foods such as unprocessed meat, fatty fish, eggs, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.
Whilst an ultra low-fat diet may benefit people with serious health conditions, it’s unlikely to be necessary for most people.
The low-carb diet
Low carbohydrate diets for weight loss have been around for years.
The earliest low-carb, high-protein diet for weight loss you may have heard of is Atkins.
When the Atkins diet gained popularity in the early 2000s, it was thought to be extremely unhealthy.
Atkins himself recommended taking dietary supplements to provide the vitamins and minerals missing from the Atkins diet plan.
That, together with the fact that vegetarians were advised to include fish in their diet to lose weight and retain health, or abandon vegetarianism altogether, made it unsuitable and/or unattractive for many people.
The Atkins diet is still promoted and it’s food makeup appears to have been updated in recent years.
More recently, the Ketogenic diet has pretty much taken over the low-carb crown, and people have seen amazing results in achieving weight loss by following Keto.
It may seem obvious what a low-carb diet is, but when any diet is based on restricting food groups, it needs some explanation. If for no other reason, then understanding the restrictions will help you decide if this is a diet plan that you can sustain.
Before we start to outline Keto, we need to reiterate that none of the research carried out to produce this post is on behalf of anyone with health problems who have been advised to change their diet.
If you have health problems, check with your health professional before you embark on any dietary changes.
They are the experts – we are not.
The downsides to low-carb diets
Leaving aside anyone with health conditions mentioned above, anyone who exercises regularly may experience low energy levels and muscle fatigue from low carbohydrate intake.
That’s because carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy in a healthy, balanced diet. Carbs provide about 4kcal (17kJ) per gram of food eaten.
Is a diet that’s low carbs good nutrition?
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, the glucose enters your body’s cells with the help of insulin.
Glucose is used by your body for energy fuelling all of your activities, whether going for a run or simply breathing.
Unused glucose can be converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles.
If more glucose is taken in, than can be stored as glycogen; it’s converted to fat for long-term energy storage.
That’s why nutritional guidance includes recommended daily intake of carbohydrates.
Quick reminder – we’re currently talking about a weight loss diet
Choosing a diet that fits your lifestyle & supports you in losing weight is only half the story
Once you’ve reached your weight loss target your new way of eating needs to support you going forward.
Any weight loss diet must come to an end and the move to maintenance is often the biggest hurdle.
THAT’S WHY CONSIDERING YOUR CHOICE OF WEIGHT LOSS DIET SHOULD IDEALLY BE PART OF A CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE.
YOUR CHANGE OF DIET SHOULD BE PART OF A MOVE TO HEALTHIER EATING AND GOOD NUTRITION RATHER THAN JUST FOR WEIGHT LOSS.
Healthy eating should be for life.
The aim is to protect your health now and in the future.
Unless of course, you want to be right back where you started in a few months from now?
Of course you don’t.
That would be silly.
which brings us to another option
If you pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly, your plan to protect your health may backfire.
So consider this.
Could a move to a new healthy eating plan that may also help you to lose weight but possibly at a slower rate be a consideration?
Let’s suppose you haven’t been told to lose weight NOW or put your health at risk.
Let’s also suppose that you’ve realised you can’t ignore the inches creeping onto your waistline, or they just might put your future health at risk.
Then a review of your eating with a move to a healthier diet/lifestyle is a great idea.
A move to an eating plan that is nutritionally healthy sounds like a good idea.
moving to a healthy eating plan based on sound nutritional advice to protect your health
If you’ve read this far, you really do mean business.
You’re already invested your precious time in yourself and your desire to improve your health just by reading this far.
So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t begin to change your thinking about the food you eat.
Diet is not only for weight loss.
Diet is about good nutrition and eating food that’s delicious and healthy.
From reducing your risks of developing cancer and heart disease to improving your brain and physical health.
Changing to a healthier way of eating is a great choice.
But remember – if you want to lose weight, then calories and energy balance are important, regardless of your diet. (By ‘diet’ here, we mean the food you eat.)
Use more calories than you eat and you will lose weight.
And yes – that does mean improving your fitness through exercise!
THE BASICS OF HEALTHY EATING
Your healthy eating plan will include fat, carbohydrates and protein.
There are no food groups excluded. BUT – that doesn’t mean there are no exclusions at all.
Oh no-no-no. Don’t be silly.
When you’re on any kind of healthy eating plan there is one rule.
“Thou shalt not eat processed foods, even those labelled ‘low-fat'”. Or anything that is high in sugar content.
(I know that’s two rules but they’re sort of the same.)
so which diet is best for nutrition, health & weight loss?
it’s a matter of personal choice really
It’s your choice.
You want to prioritise weight loss? Then you may choose to follow a low-carb diet to kick-start things.
Or maybe you want to protect your health by moving to a healthier diet?
But before you decide, learn more about the options so you can make an informed choice.
BY CLICKING THE LINKS BELOW, YOU’LL FIND MORE INFORMATION ON THE 3 DIET APPROACHES WE’VE COVERED
For more information on the low-fat diet – it’s here
For more information on the low-carb Keto diet – it’s here
Or for more information on changing to a healthy diet for life – head over here