Increasing your knowledge on the right way to eat is the best thing you can do to change your body. Read the Q&A below and reassess your eating habits in time for the summer
Q: I need a quick fix for weight loss, so if I cut my calories really low won’t it give me a jumpstart for healthy eating?
A: Low-calorie diets are usually very short-lived and quickly followed by binging. Due to the lack of important nutrients required by the body to function correctly, the body starts craving foods that will offer a quick fix for satiety, namely fat and sugar. On top of that low-calorie diets can lead to any of the following: calcium loss, fluid imbalance, loss of energy, slow metabolism, hunger, moodiness, dizziness and lack of concentration
Q: If I am trying to lose fat, shouldn’t I increase my protein intake?
A: Not necessarily. If you are not getting enough protein, you will need to increase your intake, but eating more than 25 percent of your total daily caloric intake or over 1.5g/kg body weight, may actually stop you from losing body fat. If the body cannot utilise all the protein, it will simply store it as fat. Another important factor is the extra work on the liver, which is also used for fat metabolism; if it is working over-time on filtering protein, it cannot do its job on metabolising fat efficiently.
Q: But don’t carbohydrates make me fat?
A: Absolutely not. Too many calories make you fat. Don’t forget, carbohydrates are very versatile and keep the metabolism stimulated. What you need to take care of is not eating too many processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and high sugar cereals. Stick to the brown version whenever possible and consider any processed food as something you should only eat occasionally.
Q: If I eat fat, will it turn into body fat?
A: Eating too much fat on a daily basis can slow your metabolism down. Therefore, even if your caloric intake is correct for your goal, but 40 percent of your calories are coming from fat, weight loss can be very slow. One gram of fat equals nine calories, whereas one gram of protein or carbohydrates equal four calories. Therefore, eating a high-fat diet will give you a smaller amount of food that, in turn, may lead to over-eating. Remember, too many calories make you fat, not fat itself.
Q: How does adding fat to my daily diet help in weight loss?
A: Eating less than 30 percent of your calories a day from fat will help in satiety as it triggers a hormone called “CCK. This positively slows down the digestion of food helping you to feel full for longer. Fat also adds flavor and so makes food taste nicer, which may help you stick to a nutrition program.
Q: Is all fat good for me?
A: No, unfortunately not all fat is good fat. Saturated fats (coming from all animal products, except fish, but including whole milk dairy products), increase the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Trans-fats or trans-fatty acids are artificial fats. They are vegetable oils that are chemically altered to become solid at room temperature. They were developed by the food industry to add shelf life to processed foods like crackers, popcorn, biscuits, cookies, cake frostings etc. They have a feel-good sensation in the mouth, but they are very harmful and actually decrease the HDL levels (good cholesterol), which is what we all want, because they help to keep our arteries clean. Vegetable oil is what we should all be using, along with olive oil, which is considered a “heart-friendly oil. Fish is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are an excellent source of healthy fat; you should aim to eat a fish dish three times per week, while keeping red meat to just once per week, or even less.
Gina Grantis an AFAA certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, an APEX and ISSA certified Sports Performance Nutritionist and a J.G. Spinning instructor. She has written for various international publications on a variety of topics relating to health and fitness.