One glance at a supermarket’s magazine aisle and you’ll be bombarded with “20 Foods to Flatten Your Belly!”, “Secret Foods that Blast Fat Fast!”, and “Super Foods for Swimsuit Season” and a million other misleading headlines. These magical foods must be slimming and not-so-magical ones fattening, right? If you could only learn these mythical foods, you’d unlock the secret to weight loss- or so you might think.
The truth is that weight loss is not caused by consuming less carbohydrate, fat, or protein, but simply fewer calories. You can consume all the deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies you want and still lose weight- so long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning. Sure, selectively cutting carbohydrates or fat is a strategy of reducing caloric intake to lose weight, but it’s not the end-all way in which someone loses weight. People have gone so far in demonizing carbohydrates and fat that they’ve lost sight of this simple truth.
Misguided dieters frequently ask me “How many grams of carbohydrates should I consume to lose weight?” Individuals lose weight based on the number of calories they consume, not the quantity of carbohydrates. Sure, a good deal of research has gone into which dieting strategies work the best- if you tell one group of dieters to reduce carbohydrates and the other to reduce fat, who loses the most weight? Differences in weight loss between the two groups are due to how well participants were able to follow the plans, which lead to reduced calories consumed and weight loss, not any inherent “weight gaining” properties of carbohydrates, click here for more info.
But before you go out on your 1500-calories-of-Oreos-a-day diet, take a second to remember why you eat. The best diet is not the one which makes you lose the most weight the fastest, but rather a sensible, balanced diet which can be maintained forever to promote and maintain sustainable weight loss while improving your health. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and beneficial fats (omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats) and fiber while being low in saturated fat, trans-fats and cholesterol will promote health and is perfect to be tailored for weight loss. Why, you might ask?
1. Less calorically dense foods prevent overeating– A single Oreo cookie contains 55 calories. Not much right? Oh wait, that’s almost a half pound of broccoli. Half pound of broccoli or a single Oreo cookie…which one are you still going to be hungry after eating? Which one is it easier to overdo? You can shove more calories from Oreos in your mouth at once than you could from vegetables in an entire sitting.
2. You’re addicted to junk food– You’ve gotten so fixed on jamming synthetic crud down your gullet that you don’t know if you’re hungry or just craving another Big Mac. Stop trying to fight cravings and start trying to feed yourself some real food. Fact is that you’re only so hungry for nutritious stuff- limit yourself to that, eat as much of it until you’re no longer hungry. Once you start providing your body with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of the empty cookies, white bread, saltines, candy, soda, and other processed sugars you’re downing, you’ll simply find that there’s only so much decent food you want to eat.
So ditch the junk and grab some wholesome foods. They aren’t slimming in their own right, but will help you follow a healthy diet towards sustained weight loss and optimal health. Best wishes!