Weight Loss Foods
Why are some foods better for weight loss than others? What are the best foods to eat for weight loss?
The three macronutrients in the diet that provide calories are carbohydrates, protein and fat. The current recommendations are that 40-50% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, 25-35% from protein and 20-30% from fat. The amount of carbs and protein in the diet should be adjusted to the individual so you can go low carb high protein if it feels good for you. Low carb means that you get only 25-40% of your calories from carbs. You should remember that no macronutrient should be eliminated from the diet completely.
However, not only the nutrient ratio is important. Most carbs you consume should be complex, not simple. Most protein should be lean to avoid adding unhealthy saturated fat into your diet. Moreover, fat contains twice as many calories as carbs or protein. Saturated fats increasing the blood cholesterol levels should be substituted with unsaturated fats that help cleanse blood of bad cholesterol and even help you lose weight.
Complex Carbohydrates vs. Simple Carbohydrates
What is the difference between simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates and why is it important to eat foods high in complex carbohydrates and avoid simple carbohydrates as much as you can?
Simple carbs are digested quickly and raise your blood sugar level significantly. As the body does not need that much energy at that time, the sugar is converted to fat stores. You should avoid highly processed foods that are high in calories but lack vitamins, minerals and fiber. Such simple carbs are often referred to as “empty calories”. The foods high in simple carbohydrates include sugar, white flour and white rice.
Fruits also contain simple carbohydrates, but they are loaded with fiber that helps slow digestion down. Moreover, fruits are very good sources of vitamins and minerals. You should eat a variety of fruits.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest so they have little impact on your blood sugar. Furthermore, they are often loaded with fiber. The satiety rate of these foods is very high that is they help you feel full longer. Foods that are good sources of complex carbohydrates include wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes and starchy vegetables.
You already know that fats are high in calories. When you remove visible fat from your meat, you reduce your calorie intake significantly. Even more important thing is that you reduce your intake of saturated fat that is associated with increased risk of heart decease. Animal fats contain a very high proportion of saturated fat so you should avoid them.
Foods that are good sources of lean protein include chicken and turkey breast without skin, egg whites, fish fillet, lean beef and beans.
Saturated Fat vs. Unsaturated Fat
Saturated fats increase your total blood cholesterol level while unsaturated fats help lower it. Foods rich in saturated fat include animal fats (such as lard, tallow and suet), fatty meat, and some vegetable oils (such as coconut oil, palm oil, cottonseed oil).
Foods that are good sources of unsaturated fats include cold water fish (such as salmon, tuna, sardines and trout) and vegetable oils (such as olive oil and sunflower oil). Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are very important as they help you lose weight. You should eat cold water fish at least twice a day.
The Best Weight Loss Foods
- Whole grains, which include wholegrain breads, wholegrain breakfast cereals, wheat germ, brown rice and oatmeal.
- All fruits
- All vegetables
- Lean meat including lean beef, lamp, poultry and fish.
- Low-fat dairy products
- Vegetable oils
- Beverages such as water, green and oolong tea, coffee (with no sugar)
You should eat foods that are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and avoid empty calories as much as possible.
Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss
- Refined sugars (desserts, muffins, pancakes, waffles)
- Refined cereals which include white flour (white bread and pizza) and white rice
- All animal fats including lard, tallow and suet and fat meat
- Whole dairy products
For healthy long-term weight loss, you should eat the right foods in right quantities. Do not forget that portion sizes are important even when you eat recommended foods. Avoid “empty calories” by eliminating highly processed, refined and fat foods from your diet.