Nutrition for Fat Loss
The most important factor for anyone trying to change their body composition is nutrition; not training. This article will outline clearly and specifically how to loose fat through better nutrition.
The following guidelines should be followed as closely as possible:
- Aim for at least 5 small meals per day. 6-8 are optimal.
- Stay well hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
- Eat plenty of vegetables (3-5 servings) and moderate amount of fruits (1-3 servings). Juices do not count and should generally be avoided.
- Take a multi-vitamin designed by a well-know supplement manufacturer if you are incorporating weight training and/or cardio into your program.
All food consists of macronutrients. The 3 macronutrients are (1) protein (2) carbohydrates (3) and fat. The key to altering your body's look and composition is controlling the type and amount of macronutrients you consume.
What Types of Food Should I Be Eating?
Protein is the cornerstone of all diets. It's the macronutrient that is most lacking people's diets. High amounts of refined carbohydrates and fats create soft overweight bodies. Protein on the other hand, is not easily stored as fat. It is used to build and maintain the body muscles. Protein is the key to having a healthier, leaner body. Good protein sources include:
Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source. Too few carbs in your diet will leave you feeling lazy and moody while excess carbs are stored as fat. The most important factor in determining which kind of carbohydrates to have in your diet, is the glycemic index. High- glycemic carbs enter the bloodstream very quickly, flooding your body with blood glucose. Unless your body can use these carbs (like after a workout or endurance activity) they are stored by your body as fat. You soon feel hungry. Low-glycemic sources of carbohydrates enter the bloodstream slowly, supplying your body with a steady but not overwhelming source of energy. These are the best sources to be eaten regularly. Generally whole foods rank the lowest on this ranking. You can find the glycemic rating of your favourite foods at www.glycemicindex.com.
- Oatmeal (non-sweetened)
- Yogurt (non - sweetened)
- White bread
- Sugars and sweets
There are 4 types of fats:
- Monounsaturated fats should account for the majority of fats you eat. Examples include: almonds, peanut/peanut butter, most nuts, olive oil, and avocados
- Polyunsaturated fats consist of Omega 3's, 6's and 9's. Omega 3 fats are very scarce in our diets and are essential to weight loss. The best source of Omega 3's is flax oil. Fish fats are also good and provide other health benefits.
- Saturated fats should be avoided. They occur naturally in foods so it's impossible to eliminate them from your diet. Small changes like removing skin from chicken and eating leaner meats can go a long way.
- Trans fats are the worst of all fats. Stay away from fried foods and hydrogenated oils. By law, trans fats do not have to be labelled on food, but this does not mean you can't calculate them for yourself. Add up the mono, poly and saturated fats on the nutrition label of a food. Subtract that number from the total amount of fat and what's left over is the amount of trans fat.
Of course eating and avoiding these specific foods all of time would be very boring and difficult. You don't have to memorize these foods, simply READ THE LABELS of the foods you eat. Everything you need to know about a food's nutritional value can be found on its label.
What Amount of Food Should I Be Eating?
Protein - Eat 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you want to eat 150-300 grams of protein per day.
Carbohydrates - Eat 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you want to eat 150- 225 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Fat - Eat 0.3-0.5 grams of fat per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you want to eat 40-75 grams of fat per day.
Note: The amounts above are for males. Females should eat only 60% of the above amounts.
If your body is prone to storing fat, start off eating the lower recommended amounts of each macronutrient. One day a week, treat yourself by having a "high-carb" day. Feel free to eat 2.0-2.5 grams of carbohydrates per body pound. One "high-carb" day per week keeps your muscles filled with glycogen (muscular fuel) and keeps your metabolism up high.