There are no right diets and here’s why

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Who among us has not tried to lose weight for the summer or for the New Year? Especially when we’re hoping for a magic diet that will get you in order quickly and effortlessly. But fast doesn’t mean good. Artem Veris, product manager for FITKIT protein desserts, explains why we lose the wrong weight and how we can lose weight without harming our health.

Artem Veris

Artem Veris

Why is the body overweight?

Society and living conditions are changing faster than the organism has time to evolve. For thousands of years, our ancestors did not know what stability was. If starvation was not possible, those who managed to store some fat were more likely to survive.

It was only 10,000 years ago that humans began domesticating wheat, and it was only in the last century that pesticides and antibiotics appeared to help solve the problem of hunger in developed countries. This is only a short time before major changes in the genome occur that will help reduce the appetite for high-calorie foods. Our body still believes that hunger can come tomorrow and tries to gain weight at every opportunity.

The main principle of any diet

To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body uses. The body will resist: trying to make up for the lack of energy in various ways, not always by burning fat. The result depends on the specific principles of the chosen diet, which we will discuss below. Important: If you have health problems, you should consult a specialist before starting any diet.

How to lose weight. Sure Ways to Lose Weight

Harsh calorie cuts. You cannot drastically reduce the daily calorie content. A sharp decrease in calories leads to increased production of the stress hormone – cortisol. At a high level the body starts destroying the muscles to get the missing energy. At the same time, less muscle mass, fewer calories are consumed – losing weight in a strong deficit will become more and more difficult. But this is just the beginning. Reducing calories also slows down metabolism. Once you decide you’ve lost enough weight and go back to your normal diet, you’ll most likely start to gain your weight back – you just won’t be burning as many calories as you used to. Trying to switch to a 1200 calorie diet can be quite stressful, especially if you want to switch to such a diet in one day.

Strict restrictions on products. Let’s be honest, your diet is hard to follow. We cannot always plan our diet taking into account the balance of all macronutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber. Keeping track of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals is even more difficult. In this sense, a diet based on breasted buckwheat is not much better than fast food – it simply does not have all the necessary substances for health. If there is no way to eat a varied diet, at least compensate for the lack of micronutrients with special supplements. A nutritionist can help identify what is missing.

How to create a diet that you can follow for a lifetime? Principles of truly healthy eating

Photograph: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  1. The ideal diet should not cause discomfort. If your diet is very restricted, you cannot stick to it for long. Of course, there are rare exceptions: for example, if a person has developed obesity, which carries serious health risks. In such cases, a nutritionist could choose the lesser of two evils and you would have to put up with it.
  2. The diet should be diversified. Don’t forget the micronutrients you need!
  3. Pay attention to the size. When it comes to diets, people often act on an all-or-nothing basis and tend to cut out all foods containing sugar, no more than 1-2 grams. Believe me, a few grams won’t change anything.
  4. Don’t forget the protein. It’s important to protect your muscles while cutting calories. Girls are often afraid that if they eat too much protein, big muscles will grow. That’s not true – it requires hard strength training and a calorie surplus. To effectively lose weight it is important to protect muscle mass from destruction – 10 to 35% of calories should come from protein. Consume 50 to 175 grams of protein per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. Consumption of 0.8 grams of protein per 1 kg of weight is considered basic, but if you play sports or reduce the calorie content of the diet, the amount of protein should be increased.
  5. Do not avoid oil. A common mistake is to minimize fat intake. Unlike carbohydrates, which we will discuss below, fats are not only used as a source of calories, but also participate in many processes, including hormone synthesis. If you drastically reduce their consumption, problems can begin, up to reduced fertility and the end of the cycle in girls. It is optimal that 20-35% of calories come from fats. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this is about 44-78 grams per day. At the same time, 11-22 grams of fat should be unsaturated.
  6. Remember fiber. By consuming adequate amounts, we reduce the chances of developing obesity and metabolic syndrome that lead to other diseases. The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. If you are on a low-carb diet, it is better to increase the amount of fiber.
  7. But it’s best to really avoid refined sugars. Classic sweets are bad not only because of their calorie content, but also because of their low protein and micronutrient content. If you eat too many fast carbohydrates, the body has no choice but to store the excess calories in the form of fat. If you do not want to give up sweets, replace them with low-carb protein bars or cookies, these will help maintain an optimal amount of macronutrients in the diet.

But following these principles is not enough to lose weight.

Shot from the movie “Spices and Passions”

It is possible to stick to the principles of balanced nutrition and feel good all your life. But if you have a weight loss goal, you will need to slightly limit your diet at the expense of carbohydrates.

First you need to determine what the daily calorie content is – that is, how many calories you need to eat so that the percentage of fat and muscle mass in the body does not change, does not gain or lose weight. Then you should figure out how much macronutrients (i.e. fat, protein and fiber) you personally need based on the recommendations above: it depends on your activity, calorie restriction, body fat percentage. You can determine the latter using a smart balance or a caliper (a device for measuring oil).

Having learned your norm, you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake by 50 grams per day – this is about 200 kcal. If after a week the weight does not start to change, you can reduce your carbohydrate intake by another 25-50 grams, etc.

Please note that the average rate of fat burning for very overweight people is about 0.5-1 kg per week – up to 1.5-2 kg. If the process goes faster, you’ll likely cut calories too much and burn not only fat but muscle as well. Also, do not limit calories below 1200 kcal – the number of calories is calculated individually for each person, but this is the basic recommendation. Because it can slow down your metabolism.

However, completely eliminating carbohydrates is not worth it.

Frame from the movie “Spices and Sweets”

Looks like you can give up on carbs and problem solved. Indeed, low-carb diets are particularly popular today and come with their own risks. Literally everyone has heard of the main one – keto. No wonder it works great.

This diet involves the rejection of carbohydrates and, as a result, forces the body to use as energy not them, but ketone bodies, which our liver can take from fats. This condition is called ketosis. To enter, you need to gradually reduce the amount of carbohydrates to 5% of the total calorie intake. For a 2,000-calorie requirement per day, the macronutrient ratio might be roughly 165 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates, but it’s best to reduce it to 20.

The diet has many restrictions – you will have to give up all high-carb foods, including fruits and some vegetables. Most people find it difficult to stick to such a diet in the long run. In addition, the diet is at risk of developing a deficiency of selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins B and C, which can lead to health problems. It can overload the liver and also cause headaches and mood swings. The brain needs carbohydrates to function properly.

Most low-carb diets work the same way. They are really effective for weight loss, but you should not resort to them if you have gained a few pounds. If you still decide to do this, I suggest you seek the advice of an expert first.

In any case, whatever diet you choose, you need to remember that not only nutrition affects weight loss and health. Do not forget about physical activity, adequate sleep and maintaining water balance.

Source: People Talk