Calories, fat, and carbs all count in healthy eating for weight loss. Learn why even the diet taboos, carbs and fat, play a role in a successful weight-loss plan.
We hear about weight-loss plans all the time. South Beach. Atkins. Weight Watchers. But when it comes to healthy eating and losing pounds, which really is the best?
That all depends.
Prescreen for a Menopause Research Study
Healthy Eating and Weight Loss: Calories
The most important part of choosing a weight-loss plan is finding one that works for you. Healthy eating while dieting is more about consuming the proper number of calories than eliminating specific foods from one’s diet.
“If you are going to pick a diet that involves cutting out a food group or restricts intakes excessively, you will not be able to stay on it for very long,” says Tara M. Harwood, RD, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “If you cannot continue on a diet, you will relapse into old behaviors and gain the weight back or even gain more weight than you started with.”
Calories are key when it comes to weight loss. To lose a pound a week, you need to create a deficit of 500 calories a day, ideally achieved by both eating less and exercising more. But beware of diets of less than 1,200 calories a day. They may not provide proper nutrition and should only be done under medical supervision.
Healthy Eating and Weight Loss: Fat
When people think about weight loss, they may assume they should cut fat out of their diets. While it is true that one gram of fat has nine calories compared to four calories in a gram of carbohydrates or protein, that doesn’t mean fat should be completely eliminated.
“Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet,” says Suzanne Lugerner, RN, director of clinical nutrition at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. “It’s necessary for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, E, and K — and is an essential component of cell membranes. It’s also a source of energy, essential for normal growth and development and provides insulation and cushioning to our vital organs.” Digested more slowly than carbs, fat can help prolong a feeling of fullness in people eating less to lose weight.
Yet fat should only make up 20 to 35 percent of your diet. And not all fats are created equal. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in nuts, certain oils, avocados, and some kinds of fish are healthier than the saturated fats in meat and dairy products. Trans fats found in many fried fast foods, baked goods, cookies, and crackers are the worst of all and should be avoided whenever possible.
Healthy Eating and Weight Loss: Carbs
Now that you know fats are critical to healthy weight loss, what about carbs?
“Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all carbohydrates and provide essentialvitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Lugerner. “And carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.” Without the 130 grams of carbohydrates the brain needs to function each day, the body will start breaking down body protein to get the fuel it needs.
The trick is eating the right kind of carbs. “Eating carbohydrates may contribute to more cravings if you are selecting processed, simple carbohydrates such as juice, white bread, or pretzels,” says Harwood. “Picking whole-grain carbs or carbs with added fiber will keep you satisfied for longer because these are digested at a slower rate and expand in the stomach, causing a feeling of fullness.” Not to mention they help lower cholesterol levels and keep the colon healthy.
Ultimately the key to weight loss is simple. Reduce calories. Eat from all food groups. Exercise. If need be, find support from a registered dietitian or licensed nutritionist, or attend group meetings in person or online. And don’t obsess over every little pound. “There can be normal fluctuations in weight,” says Lugerner. “How you feel, the fit of your clothing, improvements in health such as blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and physical fitness and stamina are also good indicators of success.”
To view original article click here: http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/keys-to-successful-weight-loss.aspx