Archive for the 'Nutrition' Category

Is it true that smaller, more regular meals can help me lose weight

Question: My GP told me that if I want to lose weight I should have smaller meals more frequently. How can eating smaller meals more often help me lose weight?

Answer: Gaining control over what you eat, how much, and when, is the key to losing weight and maintaining your goal weight. If you battle to control your weight and your appetite; your biggest problem is most likely keeping your blood sugar levels stable. The level of sugar in your blood tells your body when it needs food and how urgently it needs it. You can never be in control of your appetite until you have your blood sugar levels in check. With blood sugar levels out of kilter you will simply be responding to distress signals sent out by your brain to your body all the time.

How does it work then? When you go without food for more than 4 hours at a time your blood sugar plummets, resulting in a raging appetite that can easily overpower your best intentions to stick your your weight loss plan. When you then eat a large meal (especially one high in refined carbohydrates), it causes a spike in your blood sugar immediately following the meal. You body will use what energy it can from this sugar rush, and store the rest as fat. An oversupply of insulin to cope with these unnaturally high blood sugar levels in turn result in very low blood sugar levels a couple of hours later. You will feel ravenous and tired, and so the vicious cycle continues.

Having smaller meals more regularly (at least every 4 hours) will result in smaller blood sugar spikes after the meals, followed by smaller blood sugar drops, i.e. more stable blood sugar levels. Your body does not need to send out any distress signals, because it has a consistent source of energy. This means that you will finally be in control what you eat, how much, and when. To keep your blood sugar levels even more stable, ensure that each meal contains some lean protein, fiber-rich fruit or vegetables and some “good fats” such as olive oil or avocado. Not only will this combination of macro-ingredients reduce the impact of the meal on your blood sugar levels, but it will also keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Use this free online food diary to capture what you eat and drink. It will also tell you the protein, carb and fat content of each meal.

How do I lose belly fat

Question: I have some extra fat around the waist that I really battle to get rid of. Any suggestions on how to lose this unnecessary belly fat?

Answer: Most experts agree that targeted weight loss is unlikely on most diets; but there does seem to be some scientific evidence that the Mediterranean way of eating can actually help people lose fat around the waist area. This is most probably due to the high “good fats” or “monounsaturated fats” content in the Mediterranean dishes. Good sources of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) include olive oil, avocados and nuts. These good fats will not only help you lose belly fat; it can also help to protect you against heart disease and cancer. MUFAs make food taste better and helps reduce the glycemic load on most foods, so you stay fuller for longer and have more control over your appetite. In short, a good supply of monounsaturated fats is a critical part of any healthy and balanced diet.

For more information see these articles on the Mediterranean Diet and the Flat Belly Diet.

Can Diet Sodas actually help you lose weight

Question: I always thought diet sodas are great if you want to lose weight, but someone told me it may actually hinder rather than help weight loss efforts?

Answer: The jury is still out on this question, although there does seem to be at least some evidence that aspartame (the artificial sweetener typically used in diet sodas) can disrupt the balance of the hormones in your endocrine system, which is also responsible for your metabolism. So yes, diet sodas can potentially slow down your metabolism and result in weight gain. Aspertame has also been identified as a potentially carcinogenic substance, i.e. there are evidence linking the use of aspartame to cancer. The best thing to do is switch to water. If you need to use an artificial sweetener, try and stick to sucralose (Splenda), or Stevia. They are both regarded as safe artificial sweeteners, and they can be of great assistance in reducing your daily calorie intake. Continue reading ‘Can Diet Sodas actually help you lose weight’

How many calories should I consume daily for weight loss

Question: I want to lose weight safely and keep it off. How many calories should I consume daily?

Answer: We all have different energy requirements. These energy requirements (referred to as TER for Total Energy Requirements) are calculated taking into account a number of variables including sex, age, height, activity levels, current weight, lean muscle mass, bone structure and activity levels. If you want to lose weight gradually and permanently; ensure that the calories you take in are almost always less than the calories your body requires on any given day. To keep you going as you have been, your body then uses stored fat to make up for the energy shortfall. If you consume about 300-500 calories per day less than your calculated TER, you will lose weight safely at a rate of approximately 1-2 pounds per week. As a general rule, never reduce your total calorie intake to less than 1 200 calories per day, since too little food can be counterproductive. For a free TER calculator and food journal to track your daily calorie intake, try these free weight loss tools.